Washed Out + Caspian @ Mosaic Music Festival, 8 March 2014

by ariddesert87

The 10th and final (sigh) edition of Mosaic Music Festival kicked off last Friday. I’m sad to see the festival end but I’m hopeful it’ll return in the future, and there’s the Mosaic series of shows that runs all year long so it’s not a total shutdown. I’ve been attending the festival since 2008 and it’s been a great ride so far, full of amazing performances and fond memories.

On to the gigs – Washed Out was AMAZING. When it was announced they’d be playing at the concert hall, my initial reaction was to crinkle my nose. A cavernous concert hall didn’t seem like a suitable venue for Ernest Greene’s carefully-composed electronic beats and I remained skeptical right up til show day. I was glad to be proven wrong and chillwave label be damned, it was one seriously awesome dance party. I had been fretting and wondering if it was going to be a boring sit-down affair but thankfully people started rising to their feet during the opening strains, and I joined the sprinting masses to the front where I, together with E and R, parked ourselves in the third row. The band walked on stage to rapturous applause and kicked off with ‘It All Feels Right’ off Paracosm and that was the start of an absolutely blissful 2 hour concert. Every song was fully-fleshed and vibrant, from the lushness of ‘Amor Fati’ to the funky groove of ‘Get Up’, almost bordering on muscular. Ernest was smiling so widely – he looked really happy to be playing here and I spent the entire show grooving with abandon. By the time they returned for a two song encore of the irresistible 80s-tinged ‘Hold Out’ and swoon-worthy ‘Eyes Be Closed’, the entire audience was on their feet, lost in the dreamy swirl of reverb and synthesizers.

Ernest had an In The House session at the library@esplanade earlier in the day and it was really great to hear him talk about the beginnings of Washed Out. He’s so warm and down-to-earth and really chill like his music. Here’s part 1 below:

Up next were the guys from Caspian, whom I also saw at their In The House session prior to their show. They were really cool and the session was just as great as Washed Out’s; it was funny and insightful with unexpected moments of hilarity, most memorably when it was revealed Philip hates soup. Having seen them at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC last year, I was going to pass on tonight’s show but after the session I decided I just had to see them again and managed to snag the last ticket from the box office after the Washed Out signing. I chatted with Philip after the session and mentioned I’ve seen them before. He was chuffed and said that was a good show but he thought the Singapore shows would be better. Also, he is one hell of a tall guy, I felt really short next to him.

The show was awesome – intense waves of sound that enveloped the room, rhythmic oceans of that crashed against my eardrums. I’m not a big fan of post-rock because instrumentals can get monotonous after awhile but Caspian’s music is different. It’s so cinematic and I like that it doesn’t fall in the usual post-rock cliches of a 5 or 6 minute build up to a climax and 4 minutes of meandering guitar. There’s enough variety in their songs to keep things interesting. I was enchanted at their show in NYC and this second show was no exception. They played 8 songs in total, from ‘The Raven’ which was prefaced with a spoken word introduction and fan favourite ‘Gone In Bloom And Bough’, to scorching set closer ‘Sycamore’. Physical, good old thrashing about on stage, a really solid set overall. Words can’t really describe the beauty of their music so I’ll let the videos below do the talking.