Casting your eye over the setlist from Sylvan Esso’s outing at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush, you’re impressed by its consistency. From the heart-swell of ‘The Glow’ until the pre-encore dirge of the slapping, ripping, jamming, banging ‘Radio’, it was an emotionally triumphant journey that exhausts your boogied-out body while affirming your faith in pop music’s faculty to inspire, to exhilarate, to be better.

The visceral aura emanating from the duo of Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn, infecting their captivated fanbase, evoked the aura of their music; that fundamental goodness, not in their talent – though they are enormously gifted as songwriters, and Amelia’s voice quavers pristinely with assured fragility – but in their goodness as people. Their humble and self-effacing on-stage asides and brazen enthusiasm, illustrated in Amelia’s spectacularly impressionistic dancing and Nick’s relentless on-beat headbanging, elevated their songs about intimacy, heartbreak, being pissed but happy, deducing the simple pleasures of life from very little, into shared national anthems chanted back at them.

This is music of compassion and exhilaration, which thrusts you in its uplift. Swaying along to ‘Coffee’ or breakbeating to ‘HSKT’ or harmonising to ‘Hey Mama’ or just dancing to ‘Just Dancing’, it became manifestly clear why I adore this band so much, and why I’m not alone in doing so (without hyperbole, theirs was one of the most exuberant and zealous crowds I’ve seen in years). Yes they’re gifted as hell, but more imperatively it’s because this is music which blossoms from such a fundamentally good place, which breaks down the platitudes and implores you to be good also.

This was easily one of the most fun gigs I’ve attended this year. The night was of an affectless glee, of modest and mutual euphoria, of unassuming communion, between a wonderful, wonderful band and their reciprocating crowd.


• The Glow
• Kick Jump Twist
• Dress
• Signal
• Die Young
• Coffee
• Song
• Just Dancing
• Slack Jaw
• Uncatena
• H.S.K.T.
• Hey Mami
• Radio
• Rewind
• Play It Right