October 4th, 2010
Fresh off of their 2010 Mercury Prize win, The xx popped by Massey Hall on September 29 to play a short, but very sweet set. For months prior to the show people were questioning their ability to jump from a venue like the Phoenix to an almost 3,000 person venue. But like achieving global fame, playing a fairly massive venue like Massey only came naturally to the trio.
Draped in their usual black, the indie pop trio made their way to centre stage and opened with their hit “Crystalized”. In response to its wondrous beauty, the audience instantly acknowledged that no, this wasn’t going to be one of those ‘get up and dance’ shows, but rather one that will leave you dumbfounded by just how pleasant the music is to listen to.
Singer and guitarist, Jamie Smith, offered a whispered ‘thank you’ after every couple of songs while Oliver Sim, also on vocals and bass, interacted and joked with the crowd, at one point sharing his delight of the fact that this was their very first North American tour where they were all 21 (legal drinking age). “I’d like to say cheers to that,” joked Sim.
The band worked their way through their full self-titled record, including fan favourites “VCR”, “Basic Space” and “Islands”.
One thing that The xx does noticeably well is keep the audience on their toes. With the melancholy-pop that they play it’s only natural that they may lose people’s attention. With this band, though, that didn’t seem to be the case in the slightest. In fact, in contrast to their musical style, a solid number of people were on their feet dancing, clapping, jumping and singing.
The xx, though not absolutely matured to what they have the potential to be, are a delight to listen to. Think they sound good on vinyl or digitally? They’re a band that you must see live. Again, don’t arrive expecting to get out of your seat and dance… or for the band’s members to be overly skittish. Arrive knowing that when you leave, you’ll have a smile on your face. A smile that reflects a take on music that hasn’t really been attempted before. Music that gets you in that comfortably numb sort of feeling, yet derives an insane amount of emotion from you. Hard to explain and easy to feel. The xx puts on a very natural, very wondrous show.
Setlist (from what I recall … it was a captivating show):
Heart Skipped a Beat
*Teardrops (Womack & Womack Cover)
Tags: the xx