Sylvan Esso returned to the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn Festival stage a couple of weeks ago in support of their latest full length album What Now. Middle Kids warmed up the nearly sold out crowd at the Prospect Park Bandshell in Brooklyn, NY on 7/26/17 and soon after the headlining act took the stage.
They began the set with a mellow, meditative prayer-eque song called Sound. For a band with such massive and exhilarating energy, opening the night with a more laid back song is a wise choice to build the anticipation of the rocking set that will follow. Amelia Meath (of Mountain Man) and Nick Sanborn (of Megafuan) both have transformed their folk foots into a folktronica electric vibe but What Now contains some elements of their original folk style and this raw style is definitely heard during their live act.
During Song, there is an upbeat, feel good acoustic guitar progression that although a live acoustic guitarist is not present, the acoustic, raw feeling is delivered by Amelia’s glorious vocals. Other beginning of the set highlights included Kick Jump Twist (a tune from the latest album that had the whole audience in the air with their hands up), Die Young (their latest single), Dress a fan favorite classic from the self titled debut album, and my personal favorite Could I Be. Nick’s master production skills and exciting, energized beats matched with Amelia’s soul and power is a recipe for a raging concert experience.
The energy level of the mid set segue of songs kept the groove and attitude of the vibes smoking hot. After fan favorites and classic Sylvan Esso songs from the self titled debut album like Coffee, Wolf and Hey Mami, the band mixed in a few new songs to complement the older more familiar songs. Just Dancing left the audience exactly how the title suggests, no stresses about the problems at work earlier in the day, just plain and simple dancing at one of NYC’s finest outdoor summer venues. Towards the end of the set they winded down the energy with another soft song from the latest album Slack Jaw. “There’s so many rhythms and harmonies” throughout all of Sylvan Esso’s songs and although they are known for the electrified and animated music it takes a more toned down and slower song for a fan to truly appreciate and understand the folktronica genius behind Sylvan Esso. To close out the set they played fan favorite from the first album H.S.K.T which kept the momentum and energy level high for the final song of the set Radio, the first single from What Now.
For the encore they performed Rewind a new song that starts off with a chill vibe but the beat drop in the chorus makes it an exciting choice for the end of the live set. The absolute last song of the night was Play It Right an exhilarating and upbeat classic from the self titled debut album. Sylvan Esso is definitely one of the most exciting live acts in music today and you’re definitely missing out if you don’t catch one of their shows when they play near you!
Scott J. Herman