An ideal show is one in which you can scramble the openers and the main act in any order and still have a set that makes sense, as all performers are just as talented as one another. That is exactly the type of concert that sold out the Fox Theater last weekend.
After The Daily Californian interviewed Soko last week, the songstress opened for Foster the People. She stuck to songs mostly from her 2012 album, I Thought I Was An Alien, though her next compilation is set to release later this year. Soko filled the gaps between tracks with indiscernible mumbles, flailing arms and even a dash of nudity — all testaments to her rather peculiar stage presence. Before “I Thought I Was An Alien,” she begged the audience to dance as strangely as they could. Although she won that round with her bizarre moves, the audience reciprocated with sporadic hops and whirling arms.
The set concluded with the slower pace of “We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow,” the track for which Soko originally gained attention. The cello accompaniment and the lyrics altered the impression of the show from disoriented postpunk to composed indie. It broke up the show before heading into Sylvan Esso’s set, which featured heavy pulses and penetrating beats.
Sylvan Esso — the duo consisting of singer Amelia Meath and producer Nick Sanborn — could have undoubtedly been the headliner of the night. Though only formed last year, the duo works flawlessly on top of each other, creating intoxicating tracks that entice even the onlookers who have come to the show for the main act. Sanborn hovered passionately over his panels while Meath belted out the lyrics to tracks off their debut self-titled album. Highlights of the set included “Dress,” “Coffee,” minimalist “H.S.K.T.” and bass-heavy “Hey Mami.”
They played a set that was hard to follow. Although the main act, Foster the People, created an unparalleled energy, they really did not do much more than was expected. They played tracks from Torches that easily pleased the crowd: “Pumped Up Kicks,” “Houdini,” “Waste” and “Helena Beat,” adding in pieces from their newest release, Supermodel.
This is not to say that the set was unsatisfactory; the visuals were on point, and the band had the audience dancing for the entirety of the performance. But aside from a few tracks, it felt as though not much had changed from their 2012 tour. Maybe their openers, with their postpunk peculiarities, simply overshadowed them in terms of originality.
Sasha Chebil covers music. Contact her at [email protected].