168254_10151656485597631_2129627010_n– GORILLA, MANCHESTER –

Well I wasn’t expecting this. Washed Out’s Ernest Greene bound on to stage with four other people as his backing band, and after the first song is done, a great version of ‘It All Feels Right’ from his new album Paracosm, we end up in full on euphoric, Tuesday night rave territory. I say I wasn’t expecting this, because on record Washed Out tend to be classed as that awful genre ‘chill wave’ (I just did a bit of sick when typing that out…) all 6am on a beach in Ibiza watching the sun come up rather than 3am in a club watching your friends come up. He makes wonderful, blissed out music to drift away too – I was recently on a beach in Spain listening to the new album, watching the world go by, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. Tonight, however, Greene and his band mates are determined to get us all dancing by reworking most of the songs from his debut album Within and Without.

Everything from the second song onwards is hugely beefed up from the recorded version, and it suits Washed Out extremely well, adding massive baselines and dance beats to renditions of ‘Far Away’ and an absolutely joyous ‘Amor Fati,’ I just can’t stop dancing and smiling, it’s actually impossible to keep still and not have a huge grin on my face. Songs even get big guitar solo makeovers, the bearded guy wielding his green guitar to stunning effect in the middle of at least three songs. Greene looks like he’s having a whale of a time too with these expanded songs, and his enthusiasm from the stage is infectious. It’s slightly strange that when touring a new album they chose to play just one song from it, and play that one song first, but when the new versions of old songs are this strong, I’m certainly not complaining.

The final song, ‘Eyes Be Closed’ is just stunning. It’s the encore for the band, and they absolutely slay it, knocking it out of the park to the crowd’s delight. The extended intro is so ecstatic I just close my eyes and let the song take me away on it’s dreamy wonderfulness. It’s the perfect send off for the band, and they depart to rapturous applause from the enchanted crowd. It’s not often that a band surprises me so much with a show anymore, but Washed Out manages to pull the rug from under my feet, in a good, no – great way, and changed a dank Manchester evening into something approaching heavenly.

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