Sylvan Esso stuns at Higher Ground – BHS Register

Sylvan Esso. Photo: Clio Burns

On November 10, Higher Ground opened its doors to hundreds of people. They all crowded together to see Sylvan Esso, an electronic pop duo made up of Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn. The duo, most of whom I didn’t know before the concert, put on an incredible performance. The two seemed thrilled with the opportunity to perform live, and their excitement and joy was conveyed to the audience with each song.

Even before the concert started, audience members had already started moving to the front of the ballroom, dancing to the music played softly from the hall’s speakers. It was my first gig in almost a year and a half, and the energy of the building in the venue seeped into my veins. My eyes were wide and reflected the bliss on every face I passed.

Lido Pimenta. Photo: Clio Burns

Sylvan Esso’s opening artist, Colombian-Canadian singer-songwriter Lido Pimienta, began his performance shortly after 8 p.m. She wowed the audience with her breathtaking voice and energetic dances. She graciously incorporated witty remarks into her performance, with topics ranging from abortion rights to stories about her life in Toronto, Canada. The remarks made her appear confident, warm and friendly, increasing the lively atmosphere in the ballroom.

As the staff began to clean the stage, a machinist lit the smoke machines. The audience murmured with impatience and impatience as they waited for Sylvan Esso to perform. Smoke crept into the audience, burning our eyes. While the barely visible scene made for a compelling visual, the build-up dragged on a bit too long and lowered the energy in the room.

After nearly fifteen minutes, Nick Sanborn finally took the stage, taking his place behind a huge synthesizer. Amelia Meath then makes her entrance. Dressed in a tall loose purple top and leotard, Meath’s more extravagant outfit made an intriguing contrast to Sanborn’s more casual presence behind the keyboard. Her voice echoed in the darkness as she began to sing the duo’s first song of the night, “Runaway”. The song emphasized Meath’s voice and range. She made the low notes sound with ease, and the higher notes throughout the chorus were encountered with equal ease. Sanborn hammered an electronic beat on his synth that encouraged the audience to dance. The song restored all the energy lost in the long interlude between performances.

From the start, Meath engaged with the audience, whose energy and excitement had only increased since the duo entered the room. From all angles, hands rose to Meath and waved in the air, as people danced in a giant, moving mass.

Throughout the performance, neither Meath nor Sanborn engaged in a big conversation with the audience. They let the music do the talking for them, only stopping every now and then to express their gratitude and enthusiasm for the presence of the crowd.

Sylvan Esso. Photo: Clio Burns

The band’s two most popular songs, “Die Young” and “Coffee,” both generated loud and noisy excitement from the audience. “Die Young” is a catchy and repetitive track. Every voice around me screamed right up to the chorus line “Now I have to wait for you darling”. “Coffee” is a bit slower, but when the song reached its second chorus, Meath pointed his microphone towards the audience, encouraging their vocals to grow, until everyone around me was shouting out the lyrics. Lesser-known songs were greeted with an equal level of energy, if not an equal level of lyrical knowledge.

Finally, Meath and Sanborn left the stage and the audience was plunged into darkness. They waited for the house lights to come on. But instead, the two took to the stage once again. The recall was greeted with a level of joy equal to, if not surpassed, the level of energy that had unfolded throughout the night. The duo performed their last number, “Radio”, before leaving the stage.

Sylvan Esso created an exciting and uplifting performance, leaving the audience beaming. The performers gave their all and it really paid off. It was, in my case, the perfect return to live concerts.


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