Another review from more than two weeks ago? Why not? Playing catch-up can almost be fun.
The xx are a young band: singers Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim are just 20 years old, and they only have one full length album under their belts. But on stage, their performance is smooth, solid, and mature beyond their years, showing exactly why they’ve been generating a lot of buzz over the past year or so. They’re not a chatty band, choosing to let their nearly hypnotic music do the talking for them. In my opinion, the live show didn’t deviate all that much from the album versions of the songs. I’m always unsure of how I feel about shows like this. On one hand, it’s great to know that a band can replicate their record’s sound, but on the other hand, if I wanted to listen to the album, I would stay home and avoid the chatty crowds and the smoke machines and the teenagers making out on the dance floor.
That’s not to say that I didn’t like the show. I felt like they put on a very strong, if short, performance. (But then, I don’t expect two hour epic shows from people with only one album.) I’m a fan of the vocals by Croft and Sim, which are delivered in a way which sort of exudes … I don’t know, a sense of cool, hipster boredom. Like, yeah, we’re here singing this song, so what? I was, however, a huge fan of their light show. Whoever is doing their lighting devised an amazing set, keeping the stage dark but illuminated by bright reds, blues, or greens, pulsing and flashing with the music, along with occasional flashes of bright, blinding white light.
Opener Nosaj Thing kept the crowd entertained, and was much better than the opener for the late show, jj, from what I’ve heard. (There’s a whole other story there about how disappointing that is, too.) He delivered a constant stream of dance hall beats, always keeping in motion. It’s amazing, what a kid can do with a sampler and a laptop. Unfortunately, my attention span didn’t hold up very well for this sort of set. It’s absolutely what I’d want to hear if I was out dancing or at a party, though, so it certainly wasn’t without merit. It’s just not necessarily my thing, although I’ve got to admit that I was absolutely fascinated by the way the music was made.
Check out photos from the show over at Flickr.