Stage presence can be a hard thing to achieve for many live acts. For the American electronic pop duo Sylvan Esso this is not the case. The band inject spectrums of colour and sound into the space of Liverpool’s distinguishable Arts Club. Sounds of ecteronic production from Nick Sanburn coupled with the vocally talented range of Amelia Meath combines for a fresh and sonically powerful performance.
As you walk in from the back of Arts Club and see the two performing in front of an array of beautifully changing lights behind the band, you begin to realize what Sylvan Esso are all about. The erratic dancing and play of Nick, twisting and pressing controls, creates synth styled and bass infused sounds which imerses the audience in the experience. They encapsulate a melodically and electronically futuristic vibe. The band emit sounds emanating from what you might imagine are constantly flickering neon lights, capturing your eyes and ears and forcing nothing other than the crowd to feel groovy.
The band pump out a booming sound for what is undeniably their best received song, Die Young. The crowd ecstatically sing along and dance to the groove that builds towards the chorus of the song. Conversation between the band and the crowd naturally flows, Amelia making jokes about their ‘new’ album not really being new at all anymore. Not to mention the crowd’s excitement for Amelia’s funky dancing and bouncing. The connection between the band and the audience is one of intimacy exchanging ‘woos’ back and forth.
The band also play classics from their first album. Coffee, for instance, one of their biggest hits with its atmospheric and ambient beginning and its beautifully catchy chorus hypnotizes Arts Club. As well as this song, the band slowly inject the song Hey Mami into the atmosphere. This song’s repetition of the words ‘hey mami’ really conveys the childlike innocence of the band’s sound, which collides with the dangerous sounding force of heavy electronic bass. Amelia’s voice is at its best in this song. She sings faster similarly to a rap artist at points but keeps control of an incredible vocal range.
The energy that runs through Arts Club during the bands performance is a special feeling to encounter when at a gig, and the band pour this energy onto the crowd. Sylvan Esso let out a mysteriously intriguing sound which is utterly unique. They clearly show that they are passionate about making different music. As the band finish, both Nick and Amelia humbly bow and thank the crowd with great appreciation. Sylvan Esso are a breath of fresh air, showcasing the perfection that is their combination of an electronically and vocally rich partnership.
Photo Credit: Keith Ainsworth