Words & Photos by Steve Melone

It seems that often performers and musicians have a palpable darkness, a dreary side that comes out in their music and on-stage personas. There is nothing wrong with that honesty, execution or style. Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn of Sylvan Esso are miles away from those vibes. Yes, they have songs of great sincerity, even sadness, but it doesn’t come out beyond the song. When these two performers come on stage they do so with complete glee and excitement to perform and sing out.

Wednesday night at Prospect Park’s Celebrate Brooklyn event was no different. Amelia gave the crowd some background, explaining the band’s origin in North Carolina and went further, “We’ve enjoyed your fair city this week!” Even mentioning they’d gone to see Phish at Madison Square Garden the night before. It was a total joy for both artists to make it out to Brooklyn to a hungry group of listeners. And they were hungry.

The duo started with “Sound,” the title track from their newest release, What Now. It was a relatively quiet way to start an otherwise loud and dance filled evening. Next they played “Dreamy Bruises,” and “Kick Jump Twist.” Amelia danced to and fro with an exuberant, fearless energy as Sanborn twisted knobs and adjusted sounds throughout the night. The cameras in the pit below snapped pictures (including mine) as she danced, singing:

“Dance for the camera
Dance for the shutterbug
Dance for your mama
Dance with a kick jump twist.”

The two went on to play, “Signal,” “Dress,” “Die Young,” “Coffee,” and “Just Dancing” before slowing things down with “Slack Jaw.” The lights became hushed and the movement still as it began.

Towards the end of the set, Meath explained how “Hey Mami,” was written largely through email in Red Hook, Brooklyn before playing the fan favorite. She would insert chirps and yells sporadically, either out of excitement or indifference, no matter, the crowd didn’t mind. 

They told the crowd; “See you next year!” then exited the stage before coming back for their encore. They were extremely thankful to the crowd for their support, explaining how they had played New York a couple years early to roughly twenty people at Mercury Lounge. Being at this festival had shown how far the band had come. Amelia returned and sincerely thanked the audience, “Thank for giving us this amazing life.”

The duo played, “Radio,” before calling it a night in Brooklyn. Until next year!


TheWaster.com | Brooklyn