You might be a fan of Atlanta’s Washed Out and not even realize it. Their music serves as the theme song for IFC’s TV show Portlandia. Thursday night’s show at Union Transfer proves that you don’t have to be a pickling, bird-stitching hipster to enjoy their music, however.
Philly band City Rain opened this evening for Washed Out, after scheduled tour opener Memoryhouse had all their equipment stolen following the previous night’s performance in Washington D.C. While unfortunate for that band and their fans, it was a great opportunity for the large crowd to hear this great local act. For as much as Washed Out are a relaxed, mellow sound, City Rain are an energetic, boisterous sound. Singer Ben Runyan was obviously having a blast with his last minute performance, bounding around the stage between and during songs, and conferring with guitarist Jarrett Zerrer. They perform around the city, having played at the Barbary and North Star Bar most recently, as well as a monthly performance at PYT. If you have the opportunity to catch them, do it. You’ll definitely be a fan afterwards.
Ernest Green and his supporting musicians took the stage shortly thereafter to the first sold out crowd of this tour. During the set, they played songs from 2009’s Life of Leisure, as well as current release Within and Without. Periodically, Green would duck down from his keyboard to mess with an iPad he was using to support the performance and to wipe the sweat from his brow. Who knew such chilled out music could work up such a sweat? Not only did they put on a great musical performance, but the stage arrangement was a sight: large lights, sweeping the stage and crowd with bright, colorful light, working along with the music. They saved their arguably most well-known song, Feel It All Around, until nearly the end of the hour long set, followed by set closer Amor Fati. The band briefly returned for a two song encore, obviously excited by the capacity crowd and their excitement.
Thursday night was host to two great performances. The contrast in the sounds kept everyone engaged and energized, and hints of great things for both acts in the future.