Sylvan Esso at The Greek

Reviews, Live Shows

220213 Breathing Forests by Gabriella Smith (world premier)

Sobbing beneath our masks

211203 "Seven Pillars" premier at Emerald City Music

Inspiring composition, mind-blowing performance

210911 Sylvan Esso at The Greek

Standard production, amazing music

210911 Tune Yards at Ford Amphitheater

Low expectations, high reward!

210129 Cinematic Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall livestream

Monochromatic, but enjoyable.

201201 Sylvan Esso "With Love" streaming

Heartfelt performance by one of my favorites

201010 NDT2: Dare to Say

Proving that streamed dance performances can move

201010 NDT: Endlessly Free

The Other You is my favorite choreography ever.

201010 Kaoru Watanabe: Haruka and Akira

"Kibou no Hikari" made me cry

200411 Arugakki at JCCC Montreal

First steps: shaky, exciting

200322 Nederlans Dans Theater at Place des Artes

Vladimir is mind-blowing

200221 DRUM Tao at Jorgensen Center

pina colada cotton candy

191116 Sylvan Esso at Walt Disney Concert Hall

Moving music, delightful dancing, incredible sound

191115 Ohmme at Teragram Ballroom

Fantastically quirky

191025 Hiatus Kaiyote at Novo

Amazing music, over my head

191023 Frances Cone and Delta Rae at Bootleg

Introspective, thoughtful music vs showboating

191017 Cosmo Sheldrake at Echoplex

Great samples, less-inspiring looping

191013 Oregon Symphony premier of Andy Akiho Percussion Concerto

My new favorite piece of classical music.

191009 GoGo Penguin's Koyaanisqatsi at Regent Theater

A worthwhile addition to an iconic movie

190925 Cornelius at Echoplex

Bright lights, big music.

190726 New Original Works Festival 2019 at REDCAT

Craving a "composition"

190717 Mitski at Hollywood Palladium

How to make pop songs performative?

190614 Imogen Heap at Greek Theatre

Hide and Seek and not much else

190601 Snarky Puppy at Orpheum

So Snarky!

190319 Monterey Symphony: Sound Waves Concert IV

A drifting concert. Water Concerto anchored by Chris Lamb

190316 Miyamoto is Black Enough, at Wallis

Holy shit this was a good show!

190127 Hidaka at International Dinner 2019

Go Hidaka Taiko!

190116 Third Coast Percussion with Hubbard Street Dance

Unsure why I was unmoved

181120 Dermot Kennedy at Fonda

Solid show to adoring fans

181108 Birdtalker at Hotel Cafe

A special band, early in their career

180623 Olafur Arnalds at Cathedral Sanctuary

The power of sweet/sad melody!

180614 Dirty Projectors at El Rey Theater

Amazing quirk-pop!

180310 Miyake x UnitOne

UnitOne shines!

180224 Batare at La Mirada Theater

Laudably ambitious but scattered.

180223 QuiltCon 2018

Inspiring works, inspiring community.

180131 Kagami Kai at Asian Art Museum

Amazing mochi-making skills, frustrating calligraphy, and take-home encouragement

170416 Sigur Rós with LA Phil

Amazing concert with a few missed opportunities.

170115 A Seed: Ichi-Ryu Manbai

Overwrought concept, thin music, tragic flowers

160927 Sigur Rós at Hollywood Bowl

Amazing sound needs mixed set-list

160918 Road to Kumano: Taiko Project with Chieko Kojima

Ambitious new work!

160409 Locations and Dislocations: An Ecomusicological Conversation

thought-provoking, inspiring, exhausting

130514 Stuck Elevator was fantastic

Powerfully uneventful ending

081012 Byron's Bottled Water Operas

Welcome. Stay and think.

Sylvan Esso at The Greek

Minh and I are both huge Sylvan Esso fans.  Their pandemic livestream, "With Love", was one of the best streaming performances I've ever seen.  We cried.  Their show at Disney Hall was one of the best sounding performances I've ever heard.  I cried there too.  This show at The Greek was more normal, and it was still amazing.

By "normal", I mean the kind of show you might expect at a large, outdoor venue, and the music you'd expect from Sylvan Esso.  It was just the two of them, Amelia and Nick, compared to the previous shows with a band of close friends.  Here, only vertical rows of coordinated lights back-lit a spare stage of Nick's electronics setup and Amelia's dancing.  At one point Amelia sang from atop a riser above the lights, an effect that didn't seem worth interrupting Amelia's vibe with the logistics.  The lights were artistically designed, using a full range of dynamics; from a single, pulsating light, to sweeping, multi-layer colors.  They weren't anything we've never seen before but they were tasteful.  The only part I found tiring were the blinders -- bright lights facing out into the audience.  At one pointed I blinked in time with the 2/4 of the beat to avoid being dazzled.

The sound was good though I craved more bass.  Minh and I both used Etymotic 15db earplugs and that helped.  We were in Section B Row R... Next time I'd like to be closer to the center to see if the sound might be more enveloping.  (I'll always be trying to get back to that Disney Hall show of theirs.)

The music included the songs you'd most expect.  That's a good thing... Sylvan Esso has so many great songs!... but if I had any criticism, I'd say that like the lighting, the music felt "safe".  Certain sections of songs and transitions were creatively embellished to good effect -- Minh and I both loved anything extra that Nick added with the electronics -- but otherwise I recognized everything.  Back in 2019, the new songs for me were "Frequency" and "Make It Easy" and those were my favorite pieces tonight.  I'm excited and happy to go with you wherever you go next, Sylvan Esso!

Los Angeles loves you!