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  • Carl Beust

Sylvan Esso at The Republik in Honolulu

On Mardi Gras night I’m usually listening to New Orleans style music, dancing, and getting my drink on. This year I did two out of the three. I traded the thumping bass of the tuba, rap of the snare drum, and the screaming trumpet from New Orleans for ethereal dreamy vocals and electronic fleeting synthesizer EDM style dance beats from North Carolina.

Sylvan Esso, made up of Amelia Meath on vocals and Nick Sanborn on synthesizers/keyboards, arrived in Honolulu after a string of concerts in Australia. Over the past nine months the duo have promoted their latest album What Now, the much anticipated follow-up to their eponymous debut.

Kicking off the evening at 9:20 the lights faded and Sanborn took his place behind his synthesizer setup (adorned with “F The NC GOP” a reference to the current state of politics of their home state). Instantly he started up the opening beats to “Sound”. Meath began the song in the shadows and strolled into the light to an appreciative audience. Next came “Could I Be You” in which Meath graced the crowd to her marionette dancing which continued throughout the night. “Kick, Jump, Twist” turned the club into a dance party.

Everyone from the patchouli hippy to the club kids were bopping their heads and waving their hands. The sides of the club were a full on dance-a-thon with little room to walk between the writhing bodies. Sylvan Esso kept the party rolling with “Die Young”, “Hey Mami”, and “Parade(w/m)E”.

For over an hour and fifteen minutes Sylvan Esso treated the crowd to their catchy collaborative quirky folk electro pop style. After a sing along “Radio” the band left the stage for a moment. Returning, Sylvan Esso finished the set with “Rewind” and “Play It Right”

Although it was not my typical Mardi Gras night I did dance the majority of the night and went home with a smile on my face. Mission accomplished.

Sylvan Esso will be on tour throughout the the southern half of the United Sates the entire month of March.


1. Sound

2. Could I Be You

3. Kick, Jump, Twist

4. Dress

5. Signal

6. Die Young

7. Parade (w/m)E

8. Coffee

9. Wolf

10. Just Dancing

11. The Glow

12. Slack Jaw

13. Uncatena

14. Hey Mami

15. H.S.T.K.

16. Radio

Encore: Rewind

Play It Right

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