Washed Out, Small Black and Pictureplane played Mercury Lounge (night 2)
Washed Out (aka Ernest Greene) took the stage to headline Mercury Lounge and launched into a big clear sound of lush layered beats. He would occasionally grab the mic to add soaring harmonic vocals while turning knobs only to loop his own vocals back over the building beats. Despite shoes-in-the dryer transitions between songs, the set got better as it went along and motionless bodies turned to bobbing heads and eventually into a chilled out dance party. Small Black was then invited to join him on stage (see pic above), and the set went up another notch with the addition of more synth, live drums and the impressive bass play of Juan Pieczanski. While I was proud of the Monday night crowd for throwing down a bit, I imagine the Saturday night crowd at Music Hall of Williamsburg on April 10th (same bill, tix here) will really let loose.
Small Black is a 4-piece (bass/percussion, vox/synths, backup vox/synths, drummer). It’s pop music with dancey beats which is driven by thick, steady bass lines and catchy synth. The energy on stage was great and the songs were fun but the vocals still need some work. Overall, it exceeded my expectations. Lots of potential here.
Video below of Small Black with Washed Out.
Continued review and more pictures after the jump.
The last time I saw Pictureplane he was opening for HEALTH at Bowery Ballroom. Despite my hopes for improvement, this set was worse and again consisted of him on-stage solo with the same flat-brimmed Dodgers cap playing backing tracks, cueing a few bleeps, singing inaudible lyrics and bopping around half-heartedly. It got boring fast and the tunes (which are good on record) sounded awful in a room that normally produces great sound. At first I thought that it was just the fact that he was alone on stage and bad audio that made the set stale, but after seeing Washed Out perform with the same set-up (and kill), I realized that wasn’t it. Even ‘Day Glowwed’, his best track, was muddled and chopped up to the point that I was hoping it would end. Disappointing.