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With his covetable amalgamation of chill-wave and surf-rock guitars, Ernest Green – the brains behind the beauty that is Washed Out, took to the stage with his rather quirkily-attired band members to play us some tracks from new album ‘Paracosm’. When the drummer, purported lovechild of Ron Burgundy and Howard Moon traipsed onto the stage and drove us into the first single ‘It All Feels Right’, the crowd went wild. At least as wild as 20-something year old hipsters are capable of.
Supported by none other than Amateur Best, something I hadn’t even realised until a few hours before the gig, the line-up transformed into one of those beautiful bargain-for-thirteen-pounds affairs. Though, as much as it’s a refreshing change to see somebody brandishing a trumpet in such a unlikely arena, AB’s multi-tasking seemed to take quite a toll on the quality of his playing, rendering it something that probably should’ve stuck to being sampled for a support slot.
Washed Out flowed and ebbed effortlessly through tracks new and old, peaking crowd delight when the funky bass-line of cult favourite ‘Feel It All Around’ cut in, and the epicentre exploded into a mass of head-bobbing. As a band themselves they emit an endearing, unassuming vibe, much akin to the music – Green creeping off stage with the coy presence of a kid after the standing ovation of their first school play. The music throughout was utter bliss – everything sewn together with the tightest of harmonies for such a laid back act, offering us all the euphoria of a bong hit without the dry mouth or questionable pupil dilation.
The only mild downer was that the crowd seemed a little dead around the edges, as is to be expected for any pre-midnight set in a venue that is predominantly a bar for the Manchester ALT scene, I guess. There was, however, a wonderful Eastern European-sounding chap behind us, to which the first bars of every track seemed akin to opening the mother of all Christmas gifts to him. Were his enthusiasm and excitement not so infectious, I’d have probably jabbed him with an elbow for the gift of an accelerated onset of tinnitus.
‘Don’t Give Up’, the latest single release from the album (June, 2013), is definitely one to give a listen if you’re after something to drag you out of university tedium, needing a little pep to carry on. Stoner music has never been so quietly motivational.