10. Sylvan Esso
Schedule was one of the gripes a lot of people had with the festival this year, but the transition from Francis and the Lights to Sylvan Esso was a masterstroke of timing. Both trade in different versions of modern dance pop, which worked wonders on the damp crowd as they transitioned towards evening. Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn’s brand of electronic music, however, was delivered with such unbridled joy that it easily won out in comparison.
And that jubilation is actually one of the duo’s neatest tricks. Their music is quite a bit darker and heavier than I think people realize — take “Die Young” or “Coffee”, songs that don’t exactly have the cheeriest of themes. Even Sanborn’s mixes are moored in trudging, hefty beats. But dammit if they didn’t make it all enjoyable as hell. Meath especially gave people reason enough to move, her smile as infectious as her dancing. She unironically mugged for the photographers during “Kick Jump Twist”, clearly enjoying being the center of this party. The crowd couldn’t resist the good times, raising their hands in the air without instructions for the first time and bringing out the beach balls and balloons. It all added up to just the sort of energetic boost needed to get you over the hump as you headed into the nighttime performances.