Performance by The xx Announced for the 2014 Guggenheim International Gala Pre-party on November 5
Music Event Made Possible by Dior Launches Celebration to Benefit the Guggenheim Foundation
(NEW YORK, NY – July 24, 2014) — Two evenings of celebration for the 2014 Guggenheim International Gala (GIG) will begin on Wednesday, November 5 with a Pre-party featuring a performance by the music group The xx in the Guggenheim rotunda. The Pre-party will be held from 9 pm to midnight, and is hosted by the museum’s Young Collector’s Council (YCC). A benefit dinner on Thursday, November 6 will follow, honoring 2014 Guggenheim exhibition artists Carrie Mae Weems, Heinz Mack, Otto Piene (in memoriam), Günther Uecker, and Wang Jianwei.
About the GIG
Funds raised from these events will benefit the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in support of the museum’s many innovative educational, curatorial, and research programs and the exhibition of its unparalleled collections of modern and contemporary art.
The Guggenheim International Gala is made possible by Dior. Wine and spirits for the Guggenheim International Gala are provided by Moët Hennessy USA.
Tickets to the Guggenheim International Gala Pre-party on November 5 include the performance, a full open bar, and an opportunity to view a portion of the exhibition ZERO: Countdown to Tomorrow: 1950s–60s from 9–10 pm. Tickets are $200 each for YCC members, and $250 general admission. A one-year membership to the museum’s YCC may be combined with an individual ticket to the Pre-party for the discounted price of $650. The event has a limited capacity.
Current YCC members receive priority access to purchase discounted tickets. General-admission tickets will be available beginning July 29 at 12 pm. For tickets and more information, visit guggenheim.org/gigpreparty. For further information on tickets to the Guggenheim International Gala dinner on November 6, contact Maela Dynasty at 212 360 4309 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The xx
Since their 2009 debut album xx—quietly made at night over the course of two years—the South London trio of Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim, and Jamie Smith has been upheld for its refined expressions of teenage desire and anxiety. NPR has described The xx’s music as “delicately crafted so that every softly ringing note, and every aching second of dead air, hits like a cymbal crash.” Grantland has called them “the most exciting quiet band in the world.” The xx comment, “We have always loved visiting the Guggenheim whilst on tour in New York, and it is an honor to be able to support the museum by playing at the Gala Pre-party. Thank you to the Guggenheim and to Dior for giving us this opportunity.”
The xx’s debut has since enjoyed much success in the United States, and the trio has won several awards, including the Mercury Music Prize in the United Kingdom. In 2012, The xx released a new album, Coexist, and their music has been featured extensively in mass media, including NBC’s coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. In 2014, the band played a critically acclaimed residency at New York City’s Park Avenue Armory, designed to challenge perceptions of intimacy. The xx has cited several artists as influences, including Jimi Hendrix, The Slits, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, Yazoo, Eurythmics, New Order, The Cure, CocoRosie, Electrelane, Cocteau Twins, Aaliyah, and The Kills.
In late March, the xx, a band that ordinarily appears at ten-thousand-seat arenas, played a ten-night “residency” at the Park Avenue Armory, performing for just a few dozen people at a time. Open to the public for fifty-five dollars a ticket, the shows also drew the musicians Beyoncé, Jay Z, and Madonna, as well as the filmmakers Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach. After assembling in a windowless storage area deep within the Armory, a former military headquarters on the Upper East Side, ticket-holders were led through tunnels to a small, square room, built around a shallow pit where three unsmiling figures stood in near darkness: the guitarist and singer Romy Madley Croft, with dyed black hair in a geometric cut that fell over one eye; the bassist and singer Oliver Sim, a tall man with a blond Tintin forelock; and the boyish-looking d.j./drummer Jamie xx (né Smith), who stood behind a phalanx of samplers, keyboards, and percussion instruments.
For fifty minutes, the xx played a restrained, audaciously spare version of indie rock with a pronounced dance-music edge. Picking out single-note riffs on a chiming Les Paul, Madley Croft sang yearning lyrics in a breathy whisper (“You don’t move slow / taking steps in my direction”) while Sim, plucking widely spaced bass notes, answered in a velvety baritone (“You say I’m foolish / for pushing this aside”). The songs were as intimate as pillow talk—murmuring and sighing against an almost silent background—but the two singers stood separated by the d.j. booth, until Smith’s beats launched them into a dance routine as sharply etched as a tango. Colored lights pulsed against the walls and the low ceiling as Madley Croft, in a black blazer, leggings, and boots, strode across the stage. Sim, swaying his bass in the air, faced off with her, in a pantomime of confrontation and retreat that could have been a lovers’ quarrel or a taunting seduction.
The mood of almost uncomfortable intimacy seemed to prevent performers and audience from acknowledging one another; the band didn’t speak a word between songs, and the spectators didn’t applaud. The mood persisted even when, halfway through the show, Madley Croft sang, “Can I make it better / with the lights turned on?,” and the fabric walls dropped away, revealing the Armory’s vast drill hall, an acre of stone and arching steel struts. Finally, in the last song, she crooned, “Did I hold you too tight? / Did I not let enough light in?” The room went completely dark, and when the lights came up, the audience, as if startled out of a daze, broke into loud applause. After one performance, Kanye West told the band that it had reminded him of Steve Jobs, who “took something as big as the computer and put it in a cell phone.” …
"I’m right in the middle of working on their third record now," he said of the xx, "and it’s a completely different concept, just trying everything, trying to find new ways of working, new sounds…"
We’re doing it in Texas and Iceland, and maybe France. So that’s kind of starting in the middle of July, I’ve already spent a bit of time with them in Texas. There are songs which have come out of our experiences in New York and Texas that would never have come out in London; the colours and the ideas and the moods on some of these songs are just not things you would write in London.
It’s about opening things up a bit more. They are a London band, but they’re also a band that’s spent a lot of time in different countries. So we’re trying to push that further with the Iceland trip, which is happening in July.
McDonald also talked about working on new material with the elusive Jai Paul:
I did something with him last week, some vocal production on a new song. We finished it, whether he wants to put it out or not I don’t know. It’s just a very long process for him I guess, he’s been working on (his album) for years. One of the things that I sort of identified was that he might benefit from some help using vocals. But his music sounds so good, he doesn’t need any help, I think he’s perfect.
McDonald is also producing Sampha's debut album and working with new artist Denai Moore.
Members of The xx, Savages, Deap Vally and The Magic Numbers are set to take part in Nick Zinner’s ‘41 Strings’ show in London later this month.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist is hosting the European premiere of his orchestral piece, which is to be performed by 45 musicians at James Lavelle’s Meltdown at the Southbank Centre. The xx’s Romy Madley Croft, Gemma Thompson of Savages, Romeo Stodart of the Magic Numbers and Lindsey Troy of Deap Vally will appear alongside Yeah Yeah Yeahs drummer Brian Chase as well as Seye from Damon Albarn’s backing band at the show.
The show takes place on June 20. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs musician plays guitar and conducts the work, which is made up of 41 acoustic and electric strings, as well as drums and synth. String arranger Gillian Rivers and a group of young players from the nearby Southbank Sinfonia will also take part.
Speaking to NME in the new issue of the magazine, which is out tomorrow (June 4) and available digitally, Zinner says that the reason the show had not yet been performed in the UK - it debuted in 2011 in New York - is because of logistics. “It’s a gargantuan project to organise,” he explained. He also speaks about working with Deap Vally on their second album in the piece at the Sonic Ranch studio in Texas, where Yeah Yeah Yeahs recorded their last album ‘Mosquito’. Zinner says the duo’s new album will not see a radical reinvention of their blues rock sound. “They’re great at it, why fuck with that?” he said.
The festival will take place from June 13-22 at London’s Southbank Centre. Chrissie Hynde will play her first five show in five years at the event and Neneh Cherry, ESG, Chrissie Hynde and Goldie will also appear at the Mo’ Wax founder’s festival. Goldie and the Heritage Orchestra wiill play the electronic musician’s 1995 album ‘Timeless’. Mark Lanegan’s only European date will take place as part of Meltdown, while DJ Harvey, Grandmaster Flash, James Holden, Rosie Lowe, Glass Animals, Trentemøller, Jeff Mills and A Guy Called Gerald will also perform and Queens of the Stone Age frontman Joshua Homme will play a solo acoustic set.
Additionally, Tom Vek will present the first London outing of his new collaboration with Olga Bell from Dirty Projectors, while Lavelle will reunite with DJ Shadow for a one-off DJ show at Fire in Vauxhall on June 14 – the first time they have DJed on the same bill since 1998. Lavelle’s UNKLE project will also play a one-off show at the Royal Festival Hall with a number of special guests.