Monday, February 8, 2010

The xx - (Live, 7th Feb) ▼

The xx

Oh what a night. Freshly plucked from obscurity are trio - Oliver Sim (vocals/bass), Jamie Smith (Synths/Misc) and Romy Madley (vocals/guitar) - from The xx. I'm sure almost everyone would have heard about The xx by now, if not, which rock have you been living under? Owing much of their commercial success through word of mouth & blogs/indie websites - ala metacritic and pitchfork (they're okay when they aren't too bitchy). Childhood friends since young, they have been composing music since before 2005, when the band officially formed. Much of their sound had been catalyzed by R&B - predominantly audible through Romy & Oliver's harmonizing duets - and a much darker/somber sound ingeniously and ornately crafted by Jamie. For their self titled ep, they sound incredibly mature, there is a web of comfort if you may, surrounding their self-titled (and self produced, thumbs up to Jamie, again!) EP "xx". A large part of that sense of ease maybe due to their collective childhood together, growing up and that sort of stuff.

To the present. Countless young-things turned up in black, possibly attracted to The xx's prominent dark persona. They opened up with the song 'Intro' go figure, eh? Jamie's dexterous fingers were put to good use, keeping exact time and beat for Romy to follow. Oliver, doing a sluggish dance with his bass, enticing the audience's attention. An apparent jump-start had the crowd going - 'Crystalised'.
Again, intimate vocals by Oliver & Romy thronged through almost minimalist guitar riffs. The last quarter of the song saw both singers singing entirely different verses, but they manage it as such equals that you'd have a hard time telling them apart.

The xx - Crystalised

I've been down onto my knees ;And you just keep on getting closer
(So don't think that I'm pushing you away)
;(When you're the one that I've kept closest)

Their apparent shyness possibly due to being new to touring. Oliver kept mumbling on the mic inbetween songs and few lines were exchanged between the audience and the crowd. That didn't affect the aura they had one bit. It was a kind of unspoken comfort when with a life-long friend or whatever. Up next - VCR, Jamie toyed with playful notes, demanding innocence from his other two friends. It spells of teenage romance ;

The xx - VCR

You, you still have all the answers

and you, you still have them too.

But you, you just know, you just do

'Islands' ; a song about finding the significant other, with focus on the 'finding'. Romy had palm-muted plucking while singing, a pause, and Jamie and Oliver breaks out with their synth's/bass respectively. Jamie added alittle extra effects to what seemed to compliment the song. It was perfectly suited to dance to it, or even to share shoulders with that someone. Magic. The band played a couple more notable tracks like, Basic Space, Fantasy. Time seemed to fly, and alas they we're down to their last, Infinity. A song of heartbreak, and not wanting to let go. I for one, was captive for that particular instant. Pangs of sorrow could be detected from Romy's vocals. Her exchange of lines with Romy had a connection, it kept building, and building.... and building. Tension was building.Unbearable, unbearable. Everyone except for the trio were silent, eagerly waiting for the climax.

The xx - Infinity

Give it up....
I Can't give it up.

When it seemed like they were going to go on forever, the triplet totally, and completely bowled the audience over. Oliver, lowering his bass, picked up two Timpani Mallets. He then proceeded to bash the hi-hat into submission. He looked somewhat like a deranged percussionist school boy who just found out his pet hamster had been murdered. The hi-hat; the murderer. Awash with flourishes of ornate electronic wizardry, Jamie accompanied in possessive instinctive beats on his synth. Coupled with delayed guitar playing, the stage lights going crazy, energy was aflutter in the theater and everyone in it. Made my skin crawl, in a good way of course.

The xx - Self titled EP
Try It
Buy It

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