I'll be the first to admit - even though it's likely apparent to anyone that's kept up with the site to this point - I have a distinct affinity toward Ryman Auditorium. The namesake of boat captain turned manic preacher Thomas Ryman, The Mother Church (as it's called by those who wish to really feign familiarity) has served as the famous (typically) single to quadruple night stand home to many a famous face.
Rather than drone on and on about all the country greats - pretty much anyone - that have graced the stage, or even muse about the Ryman's relatively recent pivot toward bringing more "modernized" acts into the "Golden Circle" - as that list is constantly growing - it might be of more use to simply ramble on about a "debut" at the Ryman. So with that in mind, Sylvan Esso's debut is precisely what we'll spend the next five hundred words or so mulling and musing about, because they provide plenty to ponder.
The first time I saw Sylvan Esso was more or less a happy mistake. Four years ago, I badgered a friend into making a hajj up to Chicago so I wouldn't see Justin Vernon's Volcano Choir at the Metro in Wrigleyville. We took a late night Mega Bus (yikes) from Nashville and proceeded to wander (what felt like) all of Chicago before Volcano Choir's show. After (quite literally) a full day of aimless wandering, we got to the Metro. In short, the opening band was totally unfamiliar to us, with a lone single - "Hey Mami" - to their name; nothing more, nothing less. Realistically, the only reason we even saw Sylvan Esso's set was because we had nothing better to do, but damn were we lucky we did.
Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn proceeded to proverbially blow the minds of myself, my friend, and everyone else at Metro. And so, I have made a point to see Sylvan Esso at every given opportunity. I don't know if that makes me a super fan or just a prideful early adopter. Whatever it may be, I can say with clear and concerted confidence that every show surpasses the next. So, combining such a scenario with my distinct affection for Ryman debuts, one could assume what my take on Sylvan Esso's Ryman debut might be - outstanding (to say the least).
From the moment Meath and Sanborn walked the boards of The Mother Church, everyone rose from the pews and no one sat for the rest of the evening (and Meath made sure to acknowledge such a fact - "This is our first seated show, thanks for not sitting with us."). I've always viewed Sylvan Esso's music as a bit of an afflatus, and if I were in need of pinpointing an instance in which such divine creativity were one display, their Ryman set would be the reference point. Absolutely fantastic.