How To Dress Well, Panda Bear, Ty Segall, and more!
Friday 9/19 (10:00pm) –– Tauk (w/ Mammal Dap) @ Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, MA
Saturday 9/20 (2:00-11:00pm) –– Tarot Sync // Alto Jeffro // God Cage // Scald Hymn // Harmoos // Un Men Mitchel Violins // Grab Ass Cowboys // Birdorgan // Cruudueces // Vapor Attack // Wild Gone Girls @ Flywheel Arts Collective, Easthampton, MA
Saturday 9/20 (10:00pm) –– Slow Club (w/ Nick Mulvey) @ Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, MA
Boston and Beyond:
Monday 9/15 (9:30pm) –– Little Daylight (w/ White Prism, Mainland) @ Great Scott, Allston, MA
Tuesday 9/16 (7:00pm) –– How To Dress Well (w/ Nite Jewel) @ Brighton Music Hall, Allston, MA
Friday 9/19 (8:00pm) –– Panda Bear @ Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA
Friday 9/19 (9:30pm) –– Ty Segall (w/ BOYTOY, La Luz) @ Great Scott, Allston, MA
Sunday 9/21 (7:00pm) –– Slow Club (w/ Nick Mulvey) @ Brighton Music Hall, Allston, MA
Image: How To Dress Well (Pitchfork)
On September 10, I saw Sylvan Esso perform at The Sinclair in Cambridge, Mass. The duo released their self-titled debut album just four months ago, and the LP quickly became one of my all-time favorite records. Having watched countless sessions of the band online, I knew that seeing them perform live would be an unforgettable experience that I wouldn’t want to miss. Boy, was I right,
At around 9 p.m., Brooklyn, N.Y., native Doe Paoro opened the show, providing the crowd with a stellar performance. Paoro’s ethereal and engaging vocals over indie-pop, R&B, and electronic tones alternately subdued and amped up the crowd. Standout songs from the roughly 45-minute set included upbeat tracks like “New Lows” and more somber tunes like “Born Whole.” Other notable songs, including “Nobody” and “Walking Backwards,” were off Paoro’s recently released EP, Ink on the Walls.
Paoro and her backing band were extremely well received by the crowd, garnering cheers and keeping the audience engaged and moving to the music throughout the performance. Those interested in seeing Paoro live need not fear. While no longer supporting Sylvan Esso on the rest of their tour, Paoro is set to support the band My Brightest Diamond on some of their upcoming dates, including a show at The Sinclair on September 22.
Concertgoers continued to arrive at The Sinclair throughout Paoro’s set, so by the time she left the stage, the venue was practically bursting at the seams. During the brief intermission that followed Paoro’s performance, I could feel the atmosphere of anticipation swelling, until finally, to roaring applause, Sylvan Esso came onstage.
The floor began to shake to the pounding feet and raucous cheers of the sold-out crowd. With grins as wide as their faces, the band––Nick Sanborn (production) and Amelia Meath (vocals, dancer extraordinaire)––jumped right into “Hey Mami,” the lead track off their album. Silence fell over the room as Sanborn and Meath worked hand in hand to build up the song. Meath’s airy, folk-inspired vocals were expertly layered atop Sanborn’s breezy, electronic tones. As the progression reached its peak, the bass dropped and energy exploded throughout the room.
This energy stayed high throughout the set, which lasted more than an hour. Playing through their entire record, Sanborn and Meath transitioned smoothly from song to song, stopping here and there to appreciate the crowd’s immense enthusiasm and engage in playful banter.
Even down-tempo tracks like “Wolf” and “Uncatena” were brought to life in a lively and original manner. Rather than easing their way through an exact replica of their record, Sanborn and Meath vibed off each other to create unique renditions of their already addictive tracks.
More up-tempo fan-favorites, like “Dreamy Bruises” and “Play It Right,” kept the crowd singing and dancing. And we weren’t the only ones dancing, however, as more than once Meath broke out into her signature, unapologetically energetic dance moves, to encouraging cheers from the audience.
Finishing their set, the North Carolina-based duo thanked the crowd and left the stage to ear-splitting cheers and applause. The applause continued unabated, and a few minutes later, the pair graced us with their presence for a two-song encore.
Coming back onstage, Sylvan Esso reminded us that there wasn’t much left to play, given that they have released only one record to date. While true, this is easy to forget when you watch them perform: They exude experience. Although Meath is one of three vocalists in the folk band Mountain Man and Sanborn is an accomplished producer under the moniker Made of Oak, they have been working together as Sylvan Esso for only about two years. Their charismatic energy and chemistry is palpable, making it hard to believe that the collaborative project of Sylvan Esso is so new to the scene that they have penned only 10 songs.
Having almost exhausted their track repertoire, and to further showcase their talents when performing live, Sylvan Esso leaped into a cover of “The Cosmos,” a popular track by Porches off the LP, Slow Dance in the Cosmos. While the original track is very much a stripped-back rock tune, the song took on new life when Sylvan Esso performed it. Meath’s beautifully chilling tone and Sanborn’s expansive and enveloping instrumental backdrop left the crowd in a trance.
Finally, to flashing lights and swaying bodies, Sylvan Esso ended their encore and the gig with a powerful and mesmerizing rendition of “Come Down,” the penultimate track off their record. The song––starkly minimalistic compared to the rest of the record––capped off a perfect and unforgettable evening.
-Chloe Doyle, WMUA 91.1
Images: Sylvan Esso (Chloe Doyle)
White Denim, Sylvan Esso, Sexy Girls, and more!
Monday 9/8 @ 7:00pm –– SALT Presents: Odd Dates // Alex Young // Sexy Girls @ Cape Cod Lounge, UMass Amherst Student Union
Monday 9/8 @ 8:30pm –– White Denim (w/ Clear Plastic Masks, LuxDeluxe) @ Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, MA
Wednesday 9/10 @ 7:00pm –– Elephant Revival (w/ Michael Roberts of Wooden Dinosaur) @ Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, MA
Saturday 9/13 @ 8:30pm –– Typhoon @ Pearl Street Ballroom, Northampton, MA
Boston and Beyond:
Wednesday 9/10 @ 9:00pm –– Sylvan Esso (w/ Doe Paoro) @ The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
Saturday 9/13 @ 9:30pm –– Bahamas (w/ The Weather Station) @ Great Scott, Allston, MA
Image: Sylvan Esso (Partisan Records)
The Gardens & Villa show on Wednesday, April 16, at Northampton’s Iron Horse Music Hall, left me with a rather weird taste in my mouth. Although the evening was filled with great music from two amazing bands, the ambiance left a lot to be desired. Unfortunately, the low turnout affected the vibe of the audience as well as the performers, with the overall mood of the night being that of utter indifference.
Opening the show was Boston-based Vundabar. The indie-rock three-piece, composed of Brandon Hagen (vocals, guitar), Drew McDonald (drums), and Zack Abramo (bass), played a set consisting of tracks off their debut LP, Antics. While the songs were fast-paced and heavy, the band’s energy did not mirror that of their sound. And unfortunately, the few concertgoers in attendance remained in their seats, awkwardly far from the stage, throughout the band’s performance.
Vundabar, clearly annoyed and put off by this, made a few oblique remarks alluding to the fact that the crowd was less than lively, presumably in hopes of getting a more pumped or enthusiastic reaction, but sadly, their attempt failed. After playing catchy and memorable songs like “Greenland,” “Holy Toledo,” and “Sad Clown,” Vundabar concluded their set rather abruptly, with Hagen breaking a couple of guitar strings and gruffly calling it quits.
It is completely understandable that the band would be so disappointed, and I do not hold their attitude that evening against them. I greatly enjoyed Vundabar’s surf-rock sound, and I hope to have the chance to see them again in concert — hopefully with a livelier and more interested crowd. This band certainly deserved more recognition for their talent, and I recommend trying to catch one of their shows in the future. The band, who will be on tour in Europe in May and June (with a handful of festivals thrown in as well), have the potential to become quite successful, so be on the lookout for big things to come from Vundabar!
After a brief intermission, Santa Barbara, Calif., natives Gardens & Villa took the stage. Chris Lynch (vocals, guitar, flute), Adam Rasmussen (synthesizer), Shane McKillop (bass, vocals), Levi Hayden (drums), and Dustin Ineman (keyboards, vocals) did their best to raise the energy in the room, managing to get much of the crowd on their feet. Opening with “Purple Mesas” off their new record, the band played a set including songs from their self-titled debut album, Gardens & Villa, and recent sophomore effort, Dunes.
The five-piece, known for their attractive synthpop sound, played fan favorites “Black Hills,” “Orange Blossoms,” and “Spacetime,” which drew some excited cheers from the audience. Gardens & Villa’s sound remained crystal clear and mesmerizing throughout, as they performed other notable songs off the new record, including “Domino” and “Colony Glen.” For some songs Lynch swapped his guitar for a flute, adding to the band’s light and airy vibe.
Similarly to Vundabar, put perhaps less so, Gardens & Villa were clearly affected by the crowd’s low energy. Although their sound isn’t exactly conducive to the standard high-energy, get-on-your-feet-and-dance performance — their tone is more subdued and trancelike — it would have been nice if the crowd at least energetically cheered after each song. As a result, Gardens & Villa’s set ended rather awkwardly, with one lone concertgoer chanting “Encore! Encore!” and the band slowly leaving the stage.
Although I was disappointed with the show’s ambiance, I greatly enjoy the music of both bands, and being able to see them perform some of my favorite songs live was a treat for me. Gardens & Villa is an internationally touring band that have garnered critical acclaim far and wide for their music, and Vundabar is an up-and-coming band who have gained much popularity in their hometown of Boston, even opening for Mac DeMarco recently. In short, both bands deserved a far more populous and enthusiastic audience on Wednesday, and it was unfortunate that both left the stage undoubtedly disappointed.
-Chloe Doyle, WMUA 91.1