Photo Credit: Sylvan Esso at 9:30 Club in 2014, by Clarissa Villondo for DCMD
Sylvan Esso makes some of the most uniquely danceable music on the scene today, so I was excited to see them perform at 9:30 Club last weekend with opener Lucy Dacus.
I’ve seen the duo perform once before at last year’s All Things Go Fall Classic. I remember lead singer Amelia Meath’s magnetic, flowy dance moves and Nick Sanborn’s devotion to the rhythms. The band brought all this and more to their set.
Sylvan Esso played songs from their new sophomore record, What Now, along with some hits from their self-titled debut album. The short gem, “Sound,” opened the set, and I was instantly struck by the distinct hum filling the venue. I was transported into a zone; the deep notes of the melody were thick and snyth heavy, which made the music feel all-encompassing.
Their new singles, “Kick Jump Twist” and “Radio,” were crowd favorites, as were songs from Sylvan Esso’s first album like “Dress,” my personal favorite track, and “Coffee.” The stage went completely dark to cheers from the audience, returning in shades of pastel pink and cerulean. During “Die Young,” hot pink lights created a juxtaposition to the song’s darkly bittersweet lyrics. “I was gonna die young/Now I gotta wait for you honey,” Meath crooned.
Sylvan Esso has a finesse for creating beats that mesh perfectly with Meath’s voice; intelligently groovy with a slight electronic edge. One of the highlights of the show was when Meath’s clear voice rang out the beginning words of “Play it Right,” the memorable lead single from the band’s debut album. The track’s off-kilter, angular beat got me dancing as I sang along.
After giving the crowd a high-energy performance, the band ended their set with an encore awashed in green, blue, and red rainbow lights, capping off an excellent night of music.