Live Review: Taking My Mum to Sylvan Esso


Originally published February 9, 2018 on


After three years Sylvan Esso have returned to Australia and the show they’ve brought with them is well worth the wait. Performing to a sold out Corner Hotel the duo performed an impressive set, making heavy bangers out of their electro pop track. They took the audience, and more importantly my mum, through the most notable hits in their discography along with a large amount of their 2017 release ‘What Now’

Despite their first release being only five years ago, the North Carolina natives pulled a diverse crowd. Standing there I was definitely one of the youngest and mum described herself as “ancient” so that gives you a rough idea of the age range.

The opener Woodes was a delightful surprise as she went through her hits. The set list, including ‘The Thaw’, ‘Run For It’, and ‘Dots’ among others, made for an extremely enjoyable performance. She is a captivating and interesting live performer, providing soaring vocals that fit perfectly within the three piece band. Woodes begins her east coast tour in early March, coming through Melbourne on March 3, and I’m keen to see her show then.

Sylvan Esso took to the stage soon after. The duo, made up of vocalist Amelia Meath and producer Nick Sanborn, ploughed through their hits, riling an already keen audience to a reasonable level of hyped as tracks like ‘Die Young’ and ‘Radio’ pushed heavy bass lines out of the PA.

The two perform together, making for a simple show but Meath’s hypnotic stage presence paired with the all-encompassing beats that make up songs fill up the room. Watching the two at work is ecstatic. Both are clearly loving every second with Sanborn dancing along to the music and mouthing almost all the words.

Notably as well, the wit behind Meath’s lyrics still delivers live. She brings punchlines with the driest delivery, however the set gave way for some more tender and sweet moments. Die Young, while being a bona fide banger™, gives an endearing image of a relationship. “I was gonna die young/Now I gotta wait for you, honey.” ‘Slack Jaw’ also came later in the set delivering a short respite from the rest of the set. Leaving the crowd mellowed before they finished up for the night.

I went to this gig with my mum and there is one judgement that I will always respect in my life and that is hers. Except for when she is telling me to drink less. At the end Ann turned to me and proclaimed that the gig “was really lovely” and asked about when we could do this again soon. If there’s anything that’s a glowing review for Sylvan Esso it’s that my mum who was fairly unsure before the gig came out of it wanting to do it again.

Sylvan Esso make for one of the most enjoyable live shows that I’ve seen recently. Their set transformed their electro pop tunes into veritable bangers and a Wednesday night into a beautiful evening.


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