Live Music : Sylvan Esso at The Danforth Music Hall

My friend Andrea and I had a very fun time on Tuesday night, at the Sylvan Esso concert at The Danforth Music Hall.

The two of us seeing this show together was the closing of a circle, as it was Andrea who first introduced me to the band. That was back in early January, while we were playing Nick’s made-up music game. It’s a game we play when fellow music loving friends come over — using the Xbox, through which we access Youtube, everyone takes turns with the controller, selecting a song that they like, which we then all watch the video for. It’s fun to see where people are going with their choices, as they type. Some people prefer picking oldies-but-goodies and others (me included) enjoy new music. The rules are that we listen to the entire song and that the choice goes around the room, one song each at a time. It’s a really good way to make sure everyone gets a chance to hear music they like, and to listen to stuff you wouldn’t ordinarily hear. We have been known to play this game for hours!

So, when we played during our post-Christmas visit with Andrea (written about in this post), she chose something by a band I’d not heard before, which I loved right off. I guess you can tell where this is going … yes, the band was Sylvan Esso. The song was “Die Young”.

A couple of weeks later I saw that they were coming to town, so I went to Rotate This and got us some tickets.

Then, we waited nearly seven months until the show.

And it was great!

While this electronic pop band from North Carolina is made up of only two people, the married couple Emelia Meath and Nick Sanborn, they were small but mighty. The audience was full of energy the whole time. Everyone clearly loved their performance.

The fact that the place was packed and everyone was dancing, sure made it warm. I can’t remember ever being that hot at a concert before, actually. The crowd (at least around us) was clean though, so while we were all sweating, it still smelled fresh. Maybe TMI but I think it’s worth mentioning, since I’ve been to a concert in that same venue where the same could not be said!

My favourite Sylvan Esso songs are: Radio, Die Young, and Coffee, if you want to give them a listen. All their recordings are on Spotify and many are on YouTube.

Here’s a short Youtube video compilation from the very show we saw, which gives you a good look at what Sylvan Esso are like when performing live. (Thank you for posting it, HeadfullofFungus!)

Here are my photos …

↑ Opening was drummer Ian Chang. Described on his Bandcamp Site as :“Bringing electronic music to the physical realm, genre-bending drummer Ian Chang is an acclaimed drumming virtuoso known for his work in Son Lux and Landlady, Chang uses his kit to control and manipulate samples resulting in a seamless synthesis of raw performative intensity and sophisticated sound design.”

His set was cool and unlike anything I’ve ever heard. If you’d like to hear/see a clip taken at the show we say, there’s one on his Instagram here. To quote one of the comments on that post, “girl you got to see this wizard shred on the kit at sylvan esso!!” ↑

↑ Andrea took a couple of selfies with her phone during intermission ↑

Syvan Esso …

↑ Do we look hot? It was broiling in there! ↑

I took these pictures by quickly holding up my camera backwards and randomly snapping, just as the band’s encore was wrapping up.

The venue …

The Danforth Music Hall is one of Toronto’s longest standing theatres. It was built in 1919 as a venue for vaudeville performances. Then, throughout the century, it has had several names and moved from silent movies, regular full-length features, repertory “second-run” films, and Greek Language movies. It began to host live music, in addition to movies, in the late 70s.

As I like to do when showing current pictures taken within an historic Toronto building, I try to find old photographs of the place to share.

I must say, although this venue has been open and consistently in operation of nearly 100 years, old photos of it were not very easy to find. I did come upon the one of the exterior of the theatre, taken in 1947, in the Ontario online archives, along with another one of the lobby, however, the second shot here, of the interior of the theatre, is one I found elsewhere, on the site of my favourite Toronto historian, here here at TaylorOnHistory. In his post he states this photo was also found in the Ontario archives, but I searched high and low (and spent far too much time) trying to find it there. I guess they’ve since taken it offline, however, it’s undoubtedly the right place. I’m assuming it was taken at the same time as the other two, in 1947.

↑ There are numbered seats up on the balcony and, although there were originally seats on the main floor as well, now there is just a big open space. ↑

Thank you for reading. Here’s wishing you a great weekend. It’s a long weekend here, so three days of fun, coming up!
xo loulou