Sylvan Esso is Amelia Randall Meath on vocals and Nicholas Sanborn on a sound board. They’ve been married since June 2016. Tonight is the first of two sold out shows in Chicago. Early on in the set, they play “Die Young”. “I was gonna die young, now I gotta wait for you honey” she sings. It’s a bizarre love song that is enchanting. Their sound is reminiscent of The xx but with more of a dance vibe. This vibe is enhanced by their great backdrop and the great lighting for the entire show.
Meath is a fantastic performer. She commands the stage as she dances and works the crowd. “Today is supposed to be a recovery day,” says Sanborn. “Not a Friday night rager!” Every night in Chicago can be a party, especially when it’s a packed house at the Riviera. Even though Meath more than makes up for there only being two people on stage, it would be great to see them form a live band to perform these songs, instead of just having Sanborn hit buttons and turn some knobs.
When they return for the encore, they bring with them the opening band, Collections of Colonies of Bees, to sing a song by local Chicago band, Califone. It’s not a very popular song, and the band doesn’t bring their instruments, so it’s a bit of a lost opportunity. To close, they play “Play It Right”. It’s a strong finisher and it leaves everyone with a smile on their face as they walk out in the a nice Chicago summer night.