Before opener Jenn Wasner started the solo venture Flock of Dimes, she was one half of Wye Oak. Once solo, Wasner released If You See Me, Say Yes via Partisan Records. That title is hopeful, as if the listener is on the edge of a revelatory experience, and last week, it was clear that Wasner’s music definitely sounds wrapped up in that.
Wasner began with four tracks, including the standout “Everything is Happening Today.” In her words, it captures the moment, “where time melts and previously buried memories are unlocked- where every autumn day that I’ve ever experienced is suddenly present and available at my fingertips”. Later, she added in some of her older music. “Prison Bride” came out, venturing all the way back to her 2011 catalogue, and the tune brought a grittier edge to what had been a more idyllic show. She ended her set with a cover, “No More ‘I Love You’s’” by Annie Lennox. Younger audience members might not have known who Lennox is, but after Wasner’s performance, she likely has several new fans.
Next up were Sylvan Esso, and from the moment Amelia Meath appeared onstage, her energy was contagious. With the help of her platform shoes, she bounced around effortlessly to bandmate Nick Sanborn’s electronic production. “Sound” was an appropriate start to their set, with the opening line, “I was gonna write a song for you”.
Just three years ago, Sylvan Esso were an act trying to make it; now the band had just come from Lollapalooza to multiple, sold-out Colorado shows. Meath and Sanborn appeared keenly aware of their transformation into such a popular act, and thanked the audience constantly. And to add to their charm, on top of their humility, the duo were also kind of hilarious. Between performances, they related anecdotes about inebriated texting and Sanborn’s aunt, who was in attendance, also got a funny mention.
The bubbly enthusiasm of the duo transferred into all songs, even some of the slowest ones. “Die Young” is normally one of those more somber tracks recorded, but in front of a crowd it became an anthem. Their encore brought them back to their roots with the final number, “Play It Right,” which was the first collaboration between Sanborn and Meath, and is part of how they met.
Overall, it was a strong bill at Denver’s Ogden last Thursday with two powerful ladies at the front of it all. Check out more photos from the night here.
All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.