Sylvan Esso Gives Amazing Zilker Park Performance
On October 12, Sylvan Esso performed at the Stubb’s Amphitheater in Austin with Durand Jones and the Indications as the opener as part of the Austin City Limits Late Night Shows. This concert, along with other ACL official shows, were sold separately from the festival in Zilker Park and acted as an after party for concert goers.
For myself and other concert attendees, it was an experience to go see amazing live music without having to go to a festival. The Amphitheater connected to Stubbs BBQ restaurant was filled all the way to the back with people. Towards the front, it was crowded with people just trying to feel the bass. The further back you went, the more people you would see dancing around with the slightly less packed atmosphere. Even though Paul McCartney was playing at ACL that night, the turnout was huge for Esso.
The opener, Durand Jones and the Indications, were fantastic and did a good job of exciting the crowd. Most openers go through the trouble of people not knowing their songs; the audience only wants the main act. I was part of this crowd of people who were unfamiliar with their work. However, the lead singer hyped the crowd up and even got them to sing the chorus, myself included. The R&B band’s music was also something amazing. The singer’s voice was heavily drenched with soul and accompanied well with the instruments. Overall, the opening band was entertaining and someone you should see if they come back to Austin.
Then, Sylvan Esso came on stage. The first beats of “Could I Be” started, then hundreds of heads started bopping with their bodies hopping. That first song is always the best in a concert performance because that’s when the energy is at its highest. It’s the payoff of waiting for the artist after the opening act and a good half hour of standing around.
The techno-pop music of the night kept much of the energy alive throughout the concert. Everywhere you looked in the crowd, people were dancing along to the funky beats and deeper meaning lyrics. The only part of the night that was uncomfortable was the heavy bass. This was the heaviest bass I’ve ever experienced personally and at one point I had to step out of the pit. That could be my only critique, but I know people who love being able to feel the bass at concerts; so this may be a plus for other music fans.
Another beautiful aspect of the show was the lights. The Amphitheater had a good setup for a light show during the concert. During different songs, the colors would shift and some songs had a set color that acted as a theme. There were cool themes for some songs and warmer themes for other depending on moods of the song. Like “Die Young” had a warmer theme with the primary color as red since the song is about finding a love that makes you want to live. Overall, the use of color was well employed.
Sylvan Esso was definitely an amazing experience. They’re a fantastic group with a unique sound to their aesthetic. As performers, they were very much engaged with the audience. The lead singer would dance around the stage and inspire some members of the audience to copy her moves. The instrumentalist would then takeover during breaks in between songs to talk to the audience, like humorously mentioning how his parents were in Zilker Park watching Paul McCartney and not them.
While this was the last spot of their tour (minus performing at ACL the next day), they released a single last month. So maybe they might go on tour again with new music soon. If so, they are worth seeing live.