The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Live: Sylvan Esso

Sylvan Esso proved themselves to be a brilliant emerging talent


6th October

Soup Kitchen


Sylvan Esso played a sensational but short set at Manchester’s Soup Kitchen on Monday night. The support act came in the form of Cosmo Sheldrake, a multi-instrumentalist who builds up the many layers present in his songs via live looping. Despite the naff name, the complexity and quality of his songs was simply amazing. Announcing to the audience before ‘The Moss’, that the samples used in this song were recorded by “smashing bits of Welsh slate against each other”, he certainly captured the audience’s attention.

Anticipation was running high by the time Sylvan Esso took the stage. Despite half the duo being ill, their set was lively and well received by a very responsive crowd. Opener ‘Hey Mami’, was as tight and slick as on record, and singer Amelia Meath’s vocals oozed warmth. The energy of follower ‘Could I Be’, got the room shuffling to it’s infectious beat. Trappy ‘Wolf’ and the dancy ‘H.S.K.T’ maintained the the electric atmosphere in the room and kept the crowd dancing. ‘Coffee’, Sylvan Esso’s debut single, and perhaps the most well known song in the bands repertoire, was performed as emotively as on the record, and it’s slower and slightly downbeat sound provided a moment of respite. The set closed on ‘Play it Right’, a song which builds off the live looping of one vocal line. Its large sound momentarily transported the crowd away from Soup Kitchen, and was a clear display of enormous potential.

Sadly it felt like the night ended slightly prematurely, with the whole gig lasting less than 45 minutes. The band acknowledge that the reason for this is that they only have one album, but a hint at new material, or at least a cover song would have been nice. However, it was still a great opportunity to see this brilliant emerging talent at a smaller intimate venue.