Watch Sylvan Esso’s Concert Film & Documentary WITH

Graham Tolbert

Watch Sylvan Esso’s Concert Film & Documentary WITH

Graham Tolbert

Last fall, when live music was still a regular part of American society, the North Carolina synth-folk duo Sylvan Esso launched their most ambitious tour ever, one that expanded their two-person operation into a full-fledged community project. They’ve preserved the moment for posterity in a new concert film and documentary out now.

The WITH tour’s origin story traces back to 2017, when Sylvan Esso released a “visual EP” called Echo Mountain Sessions, which found Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn expanding their band to include friends from other noteworthy indie acts. They enjoyed the experience so much that they hoped to take it on the road, and in 2019, a window of opportunity opened up.

For a limited run of shows last autumn, Sylvan Esso toured as a 10-piece band. Meath’s Mountain Man bandmates Molly Sarlé and Alexandra Sauser-Monig (Daughter Of Swords) were on board. So was drummer Matt McCaughan of Bon Iver and Hiss Golden Messenger. So were Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, Hand Habits’ Meg Duffy, Mr. Twin Sister’s Dev Gupta, Landlady’s Adam Schatz, Matt McCaughan of Bon Iver and Hiss Golden Messenger, and Joe Westerlund of Mandolin Orange and Califone.

The WITH tour’s hometown show at Durham Performing Arts Center became the basis for the new WITH concert film and documentary, in which director Josh Sliffe combines a loving portrait of the Raleigh-Durham indie scene with something like Sylvan Esso’s very own Stop Making Sense. Watch the 60-minute film below.

Sanborn also appeared in our recent documentary on the Hopscotch festival, which you should definitely check out.

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