As stated in the most pessimistic phrase—a.k.a. Murphy’s Law: everything that can go wrong will go wrong. That’s not the first thing you’d expect to read as an opener for a concert review, yet here we are. When I set out to see Ernest Greene, better known as Washed Out, for the first time, I did not expect to have such a strange experience. In fact, my experience was nearly antithetical to the relaxed vibes Greene exudes in his music. My only hope is that my experience serves as cautionary tale of sorts for future concert-goers.
On a moist Saturday, I embarked on a journey to see Washed Out at the quaint Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale. I began this journey with the dilemma of not having physical tickets printed. Unfortunately, I waited until the day of the concert to print them, and naturally, I had no way of printing them due to technical difficulties with the site. Murphy’s Law, right? I heard my high school teacher’s voice ringing in my ear: “At the last minute I can guarantee you everything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Well, before that night, I believed in the compassion of other human beings. I was hoping the venue would understand this situation and let me in using photo ID, the ticket order number, or something of that sort. Nope. Wrong.
To keep an excessively long story short, I ended up soaking wet in the rain for two hours in search of a printer (I literally got WASHED OUT, ha, funny). All my efforts were futile. It wasn’t me, it was the ticket site (like a bad breakup: it’s not me, it’s you)! But I finally got in.
To my own disappointment, I missed the opening act, Small Black, and a majority of Washed Out. However, the 45% of the set that I experienced was phenomenal. Ernest Greene is a remarkable performer. His energy was notable, and his smile was contagious. His on-stage presence contributed to a very warm atmosphere at the Culture Room. I surveyed the crowd and noticed that mostly everyone was dancing or swaying to the music.
By just being present, I felt as cool as Ernest Greene’s music sounds. His music is the kind of stuff that would be on the soundtrack of my biopic. I envision a scene where I’m driving over the Key Biscayne bridge around sunset—windows down, sunglasses on, one hand on the wheel—all the while, the entire Washed Out discography would be playing in the background (especially Paracosm).
At the show, I caught a couple of my favorite songs, including “You and I”, “Amor Fati”, and the beautiful Portlandia theme song, “Feel It All Around”. After “Amor Fati”, Washed Out left the stage, and without missing a beat, the crowd demanded an encore. We didn’t have to wait too long before the band came out and began warming up the stage, and finally Ernest Greene emerged from the artificial fog. The set ended on a great note with “Hold Out” and “Eyes Be Closed”.
The reason why I started this review with the ugly aspect of my experience is because I thought it would highlight the excellent quality of Washed Out’s performance. It was so enjoyable that it brought my spirits up from the ground. I went from being mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausted to feeling an irresistible urge to smile, dance and sway to the chill, synth sounds. I guess you can say the moral of the story is that sometimes awful experiences help us appreciate the sweetest moments in life. That may be cheesy, but if you’ve lived it, you’ll understand.
Here is a song to sum up my words of wisdom after this experience.