Ploy - If you can imagine what a Coltrane fan thinks of smooth jazz, then you can imagine the difficulty I have with this brand of electronic pop. This local duo has exquisite vocals atop the light electronica sounds and has some smooth and steady bass underneath. Actually, they do this quite well. It may not be my 'thing', but they definitely fit comfortably on the bill tonight and should do well in a lot of clubs around town. They did win over the crowd tonight, as I could see more movement up front as the set went on. The pretentious long winded conversationalists around me enjoyed the background music I suppose. Certainly give Ploy a fair listen if this brand of pop music is your 'thing'.
Sylvan Esso - If you are going to keep it stripped down to one guy on electronics and one woman on vocals, then one of them better stand out significantly (if not both). My vote tonight goes for the vocals of Amelia Randall Meath, who has a strong playful style that could work in jazz, folk, or any offshoot of pop/rock music. She rolls out her vocal lines and dances around the treble clef in clever ways to keep things fun. Nick Sanborn begins with looping these fine vocal patterns and adds some decent moves of his own. There is not anything overly exciting for me here, as I prefer darker Germanic moves personally, but he has the pop formulas down well and keeps the energy of the music moving forward. This duo clearly knows what they are doing as they drew a near sold-out crowd on a Tuesday night. Everyone dug what they were doing and can be happy to have seen them at the DC9, as I imagine bigger things are in store for Sylvan Esso next time around.
Quote of the Night: From a sincere wide eyed Nick Sanborn... "I have to ask... What are you guys doing here?"