It is rare to have such a unified crowd for an inaugural tour, for any artist. The audience at Sylvan Esso’s March 14 show at Metro Chicago was a sound example of just that kind of crowd: wildly excited, grateful, warm and enthusiastic. Perhaps everyone was still feeling overly cheery from St. Patrick’s day celebrations earlier in the day. Maybe there was some kind of cosmic vibration from it being Super Pi Day. No one was pushing each other for better viewing angles, everyone just seemed to be generally pleased to be at the show. Even the two girls behind me didn’t care that I was blocking their view, they just giddily sang to every song, dancing with each other throughout, celebrating the moment. It might be the kind of crowd that Sylvan Esso attracts, or the effect of their performance and energy, or some combination of both. Talking to another fan, who said she’s seen the duo four times, I was assured that the audience is always this way. Soloist opener Flock of Dimes warmed the crowd with ease with her charming persona and uniquely uplifting synth-infused rhythms.
To be part of the crowd was definitely quite a treat and despite the unusually overactive fans blasting high-speed air over the crowd, it was easy to become hypnotized by the wonderfully simple and effective light show. The use of the LED lighting was superb, with rhythmic pulses of color bursting through the foggy stage. The combination of Nick Sanborn’s and Amelia Heath’s confident personalities were key to such a well-executed performance. Although their first time at Metro, and early into their very first tour, they played with a dominance that is usually seen in seasoned touring musicians. Heath’s powerful stage presence and effortlessly delivered vocal performance was accented well by her own improvised dance moves, and fiery cool personality. She was complimented well by Sanborn, whose own amped, party-ready energy was fully backed by consistently well-timed grooves.
Metro is beginning to be a new favorite venue in Chicago, especially for pop/mid-tempo vocal heavy artists like Sylvan Esso and recent performer FKA Twigs. It’s well-balanced between being spacious and intimate, so much that every spot is a good one. Adding to this, is the sound quality that repeatedly exceeds expectations. This show was no exception: vocals were crisp, present and nearly unaltered, with supporting rhythms tight and well-represented yet not overpowering. Combining this venue with a group composed of a highly talented and strong vocalist over punchy, dance-inducing beats like Sylvan Esso is surefire recipe for an unforgettable performance.
Watch the full performance below:
banner photo credit: instagram.com/joshmellin