Live: Sylvan Esso
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. The trappy ‘Wolf’ and the dancy ‘H.S.K.T’ maintained 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 beautiful moment of respite. The set closed on the epic ‘Play it Right’, a song which builds off the live looping of one vocal line. Its large sound momentarily transported the crowd away from gloomy underground confines Soup Kitchen, and was a clear display of the band’s 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 play a smaller and intimate venue before their career catapults.