The sold-out Sylvan Esso concert looked to be in jeopardy at a couple points on Friday as weather and the forecast continued to worsen as the day went on, but Minneapolis finally got a reprieve from the rain, sending throngs of people flocked to Surly Brewing Festival Field.

(Would you prefer to just look at the pretty picture? I get it. I got you. Head here for the full album!)

The North Carolina duo are darlings of Twin Cities music fans due in large part to the ample support of radio station 89.3 The Current. They’re electronic enough to be hip and edgy, but their songwriting is more pop-based, with lyrics rife with love, positive introspection, delivered with a clever mix of coquettish grin and mild, if false naiveté. It’s a brilliant formula and the Current’s fans take right to it.


Between the first show I saw Sylvan Esso play at First Avenue four years ago and their show at Surly Field on Friday, not a lot has changed. I’m sure Nick has upgraded much his gear since then, but they are both humble as all get out. Amelia seemed to move around more, but I’m not sure if that’s a matter of confidence or if she just needed a bigger stage to work with, but the big, chunky shoes are still there, she’s still the playful, high-kicking performer she was back then.


Amelia is fantastic on her feet and chunky shoes, moseying around the stage in a kind of rhythmic saunter, occasionally and frenetically dropping into full body dance party mode, then abruptly switching back to her saunter.

I can only describe Nick’s stage mannerisms as happily tortured. He makes quite a few stink faces as he queues up and manipulates sounds using various faders and pan-pots, occasionally breaking into a dance party or leaning over to provide backing vocals. They make such an ideal pair on-stage and complement each other perfectly.


If you get the chance to catch Sylvan Esso on any of their remaining tour dates, I’d highly recommend doing so. Head to ( for details. Thanks to Sylvan Esso and Surly Brewing for having us out!

(Note: I must apologize, as this review is a little incomplete. I did not arrive in time to see any of the opening act, Collections of Colonies of Bees, of which both members of SE are alums, so I can’t tell you what that sounded like, but I can say that the crowd seemed airy and happy when I arrived just after their set ended. There were no grim faces or snide remarks typical of a crowd that just watched the opening act bomb, so that was a good sign.)

P.S. – If you were in attendance, did you happen to turn around at any point to watch the light show play out on Surly’s facility? Because if you were, you really should have, BUT, if you didn’t, don’t despair, as I captured it for you! (So many commas.)