Live Review: Sylvan Esso

October 9th – Nice’N’Sleazy

Sylvan Esso ended their European tour on a high, really getting the crowd moving at Nice’n’Sleazy.

Opening with the cyclic chants of “Hey Mami”, blending the strange with the familiar as Amelia Meath (formerly of a-capella group Mountain Man) sings sweetly over Nick Sanborn’s synths and dubstep-influenced beats.

Their stage presence is a comforting kind of confident awkwardness – after the audience applauded a long, slowly deforming outro; Sanbourn joked “That’s the first time we’ve gotten applause for a synth solo” – and in the intimate space of Nice’n’Sleazy it was infectious.

Meath bounced about the stage with endless energy, dance moves a mixture of floaty, ethereal hand gestures and consciously dorky, “white girl dancing to hip hop” moves that soon caught on amongst the audience. The combination of their flickering, strobe filled light show and the energy of their sweet and simple electro felt a little like the most chilled-out and cheerful club night ever.

The songs themselves have the kind of gentle positivity, Dress being all about the freeness of dancing, and there’s something affirming about a whole audience doing just that and singing along to “I feel like a morning star”. Coffee is a love song over twinkly, lullaby-like notes which vocals layered in echoing harmonies, and as it builds to crescendo, Meath grins, singing “rock me in your arms, I can feel it burn”.

After closing with Play it Right they’re cheered back on almost straight away for an encore. Come Down begins with only Meath’s voice again, but this time the tone is much more quiet and slow (kind of a relief to a now tired and sweaty audience), the song almost a-capella aside from a few fuzzy synth tones, lights warm yellow and flickering like fire. We left with a warm feeling, danced out, cheered up and with synth loops still circling in our heads.

[Clare Patterson]

Clare’s interview with Sylvan Esso can be found here.

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