We See You Jamie, We See You Romy, We See You Oliver.
Kicking off the Australian leg of their humungous I See You world tour, London trio The xx put on an emotional and electric performance for the very sold out (and very wet) Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne.
This show was a celebration; it’s been 12 months since I See You was released. The album expanded the group’s sound, placing more emphasis on Jamie’s samples – which he worked tirelessly on multiple instruments to replicate, at this gig – and introduced a new vulnerability. The trio’s assured stage presence allowed the new songs to slip seamlessly into their already crammed setlist.
The English icons entered the stage (which was dressed completely in the metallic shade which adorns third album I See You) outfitted in their customary all-black ensembles, looking every bit the world-dominating headline act they have become. The set opened with the appropriately titled Intro before moving straight into 2009 hit Crystalised and then fresh cut Say Something Loving, neatly giving us an introductory taste of each of their critically acclaimed albums.
With beatmaker and sample wizard Jamie xx quarterbacking from behind his raised dais, the front of stage was left to bandmates Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim. The pair’s chemistry on stage was intoxicating, with glances and smiles exchanged mid-verse, mirroring the awed sentiment of the crowd.
Classic track Islands’ signature plucky chords sent waves through the venue; they were followed by the interweaving melodies of Chained and the intimate and vulnerable Performance. I Dare You got a little reworking live, while A Violent Noise was every bit the perfect moment I imagined it would be. By the time Jamie brought us into Loud Places off of his huge solo album In Colour, the party was in full swing, the buoyant building dance hit getting everybody jumping.
There was no encore – maybe the band could see their adoring fans becoming drenched in the torrential downpour and wanted to do us favour; it’s the kind of warm-hearted thing they’d do. Instead, they went straight into what certainly would have been fitting encore tracks. On Hold kept the crowd moving, and then as the beautiful Angels began – just like a high school prom – all the couples turned to each other and slow-danced. Love was in the air; arms linked across the crowd for a mass sing-along of the fan favourite, while my newly-married friends lost themselves in their wedding song, performed live this time. The feels – this band is too pure for this world.
I See You is out now via Young Turks/Remote Control.
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