PHOTOS BY SEAN O’BRIEN
The last couple of years have been particularly kind to Sylvan Esso, as the dance pop duo continues ascending the venue ranks in each market they frequent. From the bar-sized Gasa Gasa in 2014, to Tipitina’s last year and a sold-out-way-advance Civic on Friday night, the Durham, NC pair arrived to the Crescent City on a long-rolling and palpable wave of momentum.
Fans packed NOLA’s oldest performance theatre early in time to give opening act Flock of Dimes a sizable crowd and were raring to go by the time the headliners hit the stage around 10pm. First, Nick Sanborn strolled onto the dark stage, manning his rig and began twisting out “Sound,” (the lead track from this spring’s LP What Now). Shortly thereafter, singer / badass Amelia Meath jaunted her way to the stage (in substantial platform boots clocking in around the 8-10″ mark). Meath brought it with unrelenting fervor throughout the set, radiating an ebullient spirit that rarely tempered and was met with a similarly wild energy from the adoring crowd. Fluid and rhythmic in both vocals and movement, it was hard for anyone to take their eyes off the front of the stage at any point in the night.
The lighting rig was relatively understated compared to many peers in the dance pop milieu, but tastefully accented Meath’s dramatic and magnetic presence, enhancing yet never detracting from the experience (what’s more, the design matched up with a tattoo on the lead singer’s right bicep).
The glitchy “Kick Jump Twist” pulsed and twitched through the white-walled venue, contrasting well with the plethora of radio candy offerings like “Die Young” and “Coffee” that induced more predictable sing-alongs. Although Meath was the MVP, the crowd itself was every bit as interesting as the band onstage; the eclectic, 1200-deep bunch responded like any Friday night crowd should and then some, highlighted by the girl next to me taking a glitter bomb from her friend towards the latter portion of the show.
Ending on a super charged and posi vibes house-laden run, the final frame boosted the energy in the room up yet another notch. The bouncy, dancefloor ready “H.S.K.T.” helped kick any remaining inhibitions crowd members may have held out into the night, inciting a club-like environment on the floor before the hooky, dank and impalpably textured “Radio” rounded out the set to close out the show.
Could I Be
Kick Jump Twist