Where: The Cat’s Cradle- Carrboro, NC
When: March 25, 2010
If you will remember, The xx did not make it onto my Best of 2009 list. I can hear the cries of “blasphemy” even as I type! I know, I know, how could I? The thing is (and I hate excuses), I didn’t even pick up the album until the middle of December (it was released in August) and by that point I had pretty much solidified my list. I have carried some serious guilt over this issue. And just for my peace of mind, I need to state right here and now that if I were to redo that list, this band would easily make it into the Top 5.
What I like about The xx and this concert is that they are peerless. I haven’t heard or seen anything quite like them out there. They claim their influences are R&B acts like Genuine and Beyonce, but I am not able to draw those parallels when I listen to the album. What I can say is that both the album and the show are undeniably sexy. It’s horribly cliché, I know, but it’s the only word that keeps coming to mind when I try to describe this band.
This concert opened with Nosaj Thing, an electronic music artist hailing from Cali. It was an interesting choice for an opening act because he was pretty much a DJ remixing other popular music. I like his style though and he got the crowd pretty rowdy in his 30 minute set.
Then came jj. I don’t really have a lot to say about their set because I am afraid what I do have to say would detour you from listening to their albums.; and what I really want you to do is listen to their albums, because the music is simply breathtaking. It’s just the artists that are crazy. Here’s an article I read from Paste Magazine’s Rachael Maddux about her experience with jj at SXSW and this sums up my experience pretty well.
While we were still scratching our heads over the whole “jj debacle”, The xx, silently and modestly took the stage. (They are painfully shy off stage and in interviews.) The crowd was in a state of pandemonium when the trio, all dressed in head to toe black, slid on their instruments as a giant white sheet fell to the ground behind them revealing a giant solid black X. It only took the first few notes of “Intro” to make us all completely forget about what a mess the previous band had been. It was a sold out show and we were packed in every nook and cranny of the room, but no one was standing still.
The live show was exactly like listening to the album. It was moody and dark with a theatrical flair but always, always, it was sexy. And then there’s Oliver Sim’s voice. And maybe it’s just because I have the most confounded, ridiculously high school type crush on him, but every time he opened his mouth I felt a fainting fit coming. Often when listening to The xx, I get the feeling I am intruding on a private conversation between Sim and guitarist/singer Romy Madley Croft. The way they croon to one another feels very personal even though they remain tight lipped about what the songs mean or who they were written for.
I’ve been to many concerts in my short 25 years, and after many of them I have left feeling sad that it had to end. But I have never felt that feeling as strongly as when this concert ended. I could have stayed 5 or 6 more hours and still have been begging for more. This band’s youth and uniqueness leave me desperately waiting for a new album. Everything sort of seems boring in comparison. Unfortunately, it looks like I will be waiting a while. The band has no plans to even start writing until the tour is over. Let the sulking begin…
Here are some videos from the show. Infinity is probably my favorite song on the album and they killed it live, so make sure to check that one out. If you’d like to check out all of my videos, you can head over to my YouTube page for more.