Last Weekend, chill-wave artist Washed Out performed at White Oak Music Hall. Twenty-four hours prior, the Toadies absolutely destroyed the house with an aggressive and enveloped entropy that helped kick 2018’s ass out of the building. In stark contrast, Washed Out, led by its founder and only official member, Ernest Weatherly Greene Jr., strolled through Houston to punctuate the year in a different way.

Going back a decade, Washed Out has defined a genre built on down tempo, computerized beats, and vibrant harmonies, a tradition still thriving today. It came as no surprise that the turnout at White Oak appeared strong and varied. The night before, I was surrounded by people who could have been by my parents. Granted, they would have had me in high school, but that still gets the point across. On Sunday, every Instagram and Snapchat savant 35 and younger kept a phone by their side, waiting for something exciting to occur. It wasn’t what I would call my crowd, but it represented the present and future of concert going, one synonymous with the artist I saw on stage.

Washed Out. Photo by Robert Rose.

A Washed Out show consists of a combo of elements that includes drum set, singer, stock footage, and a computer. I saw all these ingredients come together to form a bright, down-to earth environment soundtracked by a constant drumbeat and some of the chillest music you can find. On the big screen, video footage from decades past was stitched together and marked over with digital paint, just like one endless Snap story. People danced and swayed, talked with their friends throughout, and came and went — just like a Midtown hotspot. Again, not my scene, but it represents the present and future of concert going.

Personally, I thought the show wasn’t very good. The music was all right, and not at all what seemed off, but the performance itself hardly felt like one — similar really to a bunch of Snap stories and Instagram posts that can pile together to create a distorted reality. For example, what the fuck purpose did the video footage actually serve? To take eyes off the main guy doing a lot of nothing, while most of the music came from a MacBook off stage left? Performance is built on illusions, I get it.

Washed Out. Photo by Robert Rose.

KISS wears makeup, but you can bet your ass the fire coming out of Gene Simmons mouth is real. Sure, Roger Waters also performed The Wall in its entirety with an animated backdrop, but at least the images reflected the music. If most of your music comes from a computer, and most of your presence comes from a screen, that’s awesome, but make sure it isn’t boring. Then again, if I had blazed it I probably would have thought Washed Out was awesome.

It’s cool if I thought Washed Out put on a lame performance. Everyone else seemed super stoked and happy to be there, which is what matters. People just want a good time, and that’s exactly what they got to round out another busy year. Washed Out isn’t KISS or Roger Waters, and that’s great. And in a lot of ways they represent the present and future of concert going — which is something I’ve got to come around to apparently.