Sylvan Esso by Ashleigh Spencer / Sick Snaps
Sylvan Esso and Phoebe Bridgers teamed up for a sold out show on July 13 at Edgefield in Troutdale, OR.
For those who have never been, Edgefield is an outdoor venue and every summer they hold a music series called ‘Edgefield Concerts on the Lawn,’ and host many notable acts. It’s one of the only farther out suburban venues in the Portland area, and attracts a lot of families with kids who may not otherwise be experiencing live music.
At the start of this particular show, it was 90 degrees and direct sun as people settled onto their blankets and lawn chairs with their dinner and drinks while Phoebe Bridgers prepared to take the stage. It took awhile for the lawn to fill in, and just a couple rows of people stood at the barricade for the opening set. Depending the show, sometimes no one is sitting on the lawn and it serves just like a normal general admission space, but this one was more relaxed.
Phoebe Bridgers has been rapidly growing since the 2017 release of her album, Stranger in the Alps. She’s caught the attention of huge artists such as John Mayer, and continues to capture the hearts (and tears) of new listeners. This was my first time finally getting to see her live, and although it was unlike what I always imagined, it still felt right.
Phoebe Bridgers isn’t exactly the first artist who comes to mind when I think of a bright sunny day, but in a way, it added an additional layer of raw emotion to her performance. It’s definitely a different experience to see someone perform deeply personal songs in broad daylight while the sun slowly makes its way down, as opposed to an intimate, dark venue like many are accustomed to visiting.
The majority of Bridgers’ set consisted of songs from Stranger in the Alps, and the songs hit just as hard live as on record. She also played “Steamroller” from her EP, and a Tom Petty cover, “It’ll All Work Out,” which really grabbed the crowd’s attention. Bridgers finished her set as the sun began to duck behind the trees, and the crowd started to get tipsy.
Everyone came to life even more the darker it got, just in time for Sylvan Esso to dance the night away. It turns out, the band woke up in Nevada at 11:00am despite needing to be in Oregon, so this show almost got cancelled. The electro-pop duo were extremely humble, repeatedly thanking the crowd for selling out the show, and thanking the entire team behind the scenes for helping make everything work.
This was definitely a mixed bill which I loved. We all got to go from the somber indie-folk/rock tunes from Phoebe Bridgers to the upbeat singalongs from Sylvan Esso, and both have such lovable sounds no matter your primary music taste. The barricade area filled as Sylvan Esso got deeper into their performance, and everyone was standing and dancing throughout the rest of the show. There’s nothing like bouncing around to live music outside as the sun is just about to set and the day is cooling off.
Sylvan Esso kept things moving with a nice flow from one song into the next. They had everyone clapping along to their recent single, “PARAD(w/m)E.” Vocalist Amelia Meath and instrumentalist/producer Nick Sanborn were a fun duo to watch as they moved around, yet clearly put a lot of focus into giving us all a rock solid performance. They closed the core of their set with “Radio” before coming back to perform a three song encore, and finished the night with “Play It Right.”
It’s a miracle that this show was able to go on, and between Phoebe Bridgers and Sylvan Esso, it was a beautiful summer night of great live music.