Live Review: Washed Out washes over Brooklyn’s House of Vans
The House of Vans in Greenpoint, Brooklyn is a humongous indoor/outdoor skate/stage space that could almost look like it was really in Los Angeles, save for the ivy-covered brick in the massive outdoor area. Essentially, it's a fittingly laid-back venue for showcasing chillwavers Washed Out, with synth-poppy openers Lemonade and Chairlift.
I'd never seen Lemonade before and didn't know what to expect. What the audience got was a band who are apparently inspired by Wham! and orange sherbet -- the drummer had the most excellent neon orange shirt and matching drumsticks. Though they were a little off key and beat at times, I was charmed by their CeCe Peniston-style joie de vivre.
Lemonade certainly did the job of hyping up the crowd for the more ethereal Chairlift. I was really surprised at how many people were losing their minds dancing like mental patients to what I generally perceive to be a fairly calm band. Maybe because the line into the House of Vans that night was about 500 people deep, audience members were just losing their minds at the drop of a hat, simply being happy to be there. Regardless, Chairlift sounded just as tight and polished as they had months earlier, when I'd caught them at SXSW in Austin. One new revelation I had about them though, was how directly their most vibrant uptempo single "Amanaemonesia" draws from Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out" -- the incessant tinny/synth-y sounding backbeat and even the slightly unstable melody progression.
I thought surely Chairlift would serve as the perfect bridge in calming the house down just a touch before Washed Out. Apparently, I was wrong. Perhaps the vocals were turned down too low, the drums and bass too high, or maybe it was the overall volume at which they played, but Washed Out made their presence felt in a way that was nowhere near as chill as I would've expected. Instead of getting hypnotized in a sea of fuzz, there was a palpable thump driving the mood of the floor. People were actually dancing somehow to "Feel it All Around", also known as the theme song to Portlandia -- a little too on-the-nose for any Williamsburg-ian to be dancing to, if you ask me. The apex of the set was for sure the popular single "Amor Fati"- - I'd never thought of it as a dance song per se, but they really managed to boom through the space, teeming at that point, with hundreds of eyes-closed style dancers.
One thing is for certain, the most fun was had by all the respective drummers who performed that night. They sure seemed to hold at least most of the most power when it came to the ebb and flow of danceable intensity.
|Washed Out, “Amor Fati”|