SYLVAN ESSO and JENN WASNER/FLOCK OF DIMES live in Vancouver: Photos

Occasionally, you need to cleanse your palate of toxic sludge. You need to shake off body aches and pains, politics and despair. You need to slide, like a jelly octopus, off your sofa, and leave everything behind. You need to go down the street to your local Commodore Ballroom, and refill your cup of joy.

Because joy does exist, my friends, and it’s in the little things. It’s in moments of the show’s opener, Jenn Wasner aka Flock of Dimes, aka formerly of the fairly amazing Wye Oak. Joy in the fact that you go way back with Jenn, and it’s amazing to see her fly solo. You’re happy that she seems happier, more confident since she moved outta Baltimore. And you delight when she leaves her striped rig, comes to the lip of the stage, bends down and makes eye contact with the glitter kids in the front row, then beams at them. You smile at her cracking wise about a chatty audience and how “the irony is not lost on me that I’m singing a song about communication in front of people talking right in front of me, but yunno, whatever, I don’t mind.” And even in the sadness of the cover of Annie Lennox’s “No More I Love Yous”, there’s still some joy to be found…because few people can do Annie, but Jenn can.

Joy was also hugely delivered, on the back of a rainbow-coloured unicorn, when Sylvan Esso took the stage. And it was the little things that make me the happiest. Or rather, the big things. Like singer Amelia Meath’s chunky, four-inch foam platforms that she booped around on, gleefully. Or the way she danced – all hips and curves and belly and arms and fancy foam footwork matched by SO MANY SMILES. “Just Dancing,” maybe, and utterly infectious. “Dance for the shutterbug,” she twee’d in “Kick Jump Twist” and then she did. I grinned watching Nick Sanborn watching Amelia’s every move and adjusting his music to her vibes, and swooned watching the open-hearted young audience burst with brilliance. There was joy even in “Die Young” and release when Amelia asked the crowd to let out a big “AWROOOOOOO” howl like wolves for “Wolf”.

The world in the Commodore Ballroom needed a little bit of joy that night, and Sylvan Esso brought it in buckets. Thanks. \m/

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