LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 20: (L-R) Jamie Smith, Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim of The XX attend the photocall for the Barclaycard Mercury Prize Nominations Announcement at The Hospital on July 20, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Claire Greenway/Getty Images)
• 26 July 2010
Live: Wild Beasts And The XX At The Roundhouse, London
JUL 19, 2010
SIS EXCLUSIVE! posted by Will Hines at 2:15 pm
All photos by daisybean (http://www.flickr.com/photos/daisybean/tags/thexx/)
In an age when popular music is progressively forced to adhere to expansive, overblown production, this lineup was a breath of fresh air. Wild Beasts, playing what can best be described as baroque pop, supporting The xx, minimalist kings. The iTunes Festival flexed its muscles and considerable clout in bringing these two groups together; both stand a decent shot at the Mercury Prize this year, and as such, the stage was set for a battle royale.
Yet whilst they might be dumped into the same category, both bands sit at extreme ends of the “difficult” spectrum. Whilst Wild Beasts dark undercurrent is easy to comprehend, The xx are more intriguing in their reserved nature.
Wild Beasts jumped into “The Fun Powder Plot” and then “This Is Our Lot”, delivering a hammer blow about four songs too early. The histrionics might have pleased “le musical elite”, but Hayden Thorpe’s chilling wails were not so well received by less liberal members of the audience. With few aces left up their sleeve, things took a turn for the worse as the literary references and sexual urges were lost on the crowd, a mid-set slump washing over the distinctive sound of chatter. Tom Fleming took the mic for a few numbers including “All The Kings Men” and that was that.
Let us not mince our words; Wild Beasts were lost on the occasion. Yet it was not for want of trying; the Kendal group did everything possible to usurp the headliners, unleashing a blinding light show and extremely well-thought-out set. Ultimately, their fortune rested with the crowd, who were not receptive to a group who have produced a masterpiece in Two Dancers and will, without doubt, be a huge force in the future.
Recording their self-produced debut in a garage at XL Studios, it’s hard to comprehend how this “homecoming” gig must feel to The xx.
XX is critically acclaimed, commercially strong and has even become a target for Shakira. As a live act, I’ve yet to see another band hold court with such a small amount of visible effort. Aesthetic is front and centre, a large X wheeled on stage for the set and the troops emerging dressed in all black. Romy Madley Croft was rooted to the ground, and might have appeared motionless were it not for the slightest strum of her guitar.
The horns of “Intro” were amplified to a near sonic boom, reverberating off the tall ceilings of the Roundhouse. Their set has been honed down, although they did keep things interesting by opting to unleash “Crystalised” early in the set.
A cover of Kyla’s “Do You Mind” was an error. The crowd’s mid-set reaction was telling: “Do we have any funky house fans in the audience? …No, not really.” Save for this moment, they stayed true to artistic sensibilities, playing the songs as listed on the album.
The interaction between Croft and Oliver Sims was nonexistent tonight; perhaps the boy/girl vibe has tired. Their layered breakdown in “Crystalised” needed the longing looks, their necks craned. Instead… space. Jamie Smith cut an interesting figure, hidden behind an array of drum machines.
They are still evidently uncomfortable with the way things have ended up, the crowd chanting along to songs that were never designed for this type of environment. This was a choice they made as soon as that X flickered into life on tv. As if to stick in the dagger, a silver confetti cannon explodes as the set ends. It’s at odds to everything they exist for. There was a crossroads, but it seems The xx are beyond the point of no return. Perhaps more confetti lies in their future.
Heart Skipped A Beat
Do You Mind
• 19 July 2010
Latitude Festival 2010: Day Two With The xx, Belle & Sebastian, The Horrors And More
Bands play Suffolk festival…
July 18, 2010 | Photo by WENN.com
July 17 2010 - The Latitude festival in Suffolk continues into a second day with performanes from The xx, The Horrors, Frank Turner, The Maccabees, Corinne Bailey Rae, Franke & The Heartstrings and headliners Belle & Sebastian.
• 18 July 2010
Melt! live blog: Jamie XX, Jónsi, Tocotronic, HEALTH
Hello again! After our first live blog in 2010 we are finally back at the fantastic Melt! Festival to cover the 13th issue as it happens – including photos (by Christoph Paul) and some first impressions (by Thomas Vorreyer).
Friday, 20:36: Words race with drops of sweat towards the keyboard – this Melt! Festival has already crossed its melting point. It’ sunny and super hot here and after the Audiolith Pferdemarkt yesterday at the festival side and the Introducing party in Berlin (photos below) Bonaparte and Midlake could finally open the big party to everyone, while the Big Wheel Stage was surrounded by a sweating mass covered in dust and seduced by the fine tunes of Oliver Koletzki. Then – parallel to Ja, Panik and Pantha du Prince – Sweden’s finest, the Shout Out Louds, hit the stage. Too bad they prepared an undercooled set to fight the heat. But they were some highlights still: the undestroyable beauty of “Impossible” for instance or their short cover of ”Walking Like an Egyptian”, which now stands in a line with “Train in Vain” from their 2007er Melt! appearance. Now Two Door Cinema Club, Jamie XX and Tocotronic are about to begin. Looks like everyone reached working temperature immediately.
Friday, 23:32: Another round of diverse gigs lies behind us. We smiled at all the adolescence in the front row of Two Door Cinema Club, left the stage to dance to a brilliant dubstep-electro DJ set by Jamie XX at the beach (!) and got pulled away to the main stage again by our German heroes Tocotronic. Here, Dirk von Lowtzow almost enthusiastically greeted the crowd and praised the resistance once again and just for fun, while Rick Mc Phail was miming a modern god of guitar. This spectacle got followed by a delicious visual sandwich: a blue flash light orgy and loads of cheesiness by Delphic, lightening and thunder at HEALTH, who fantastically re-structured “Crimewave” into a new, even bigger version, and finally Jónsi, whose great, but complex and intimate setting and show was maybe ab bit too intimate for the big main stage and the oval in front of it. Now we are looking forward to Yeasayer, Four Tet, The XX, Kele, Foals, autoKratz, Modeselektor ft. Bonaparte and many others.
Saturday, 16:00: The Melt! Saturday has just begun and while we are looking forward to the likes of Jamaica, Holy Ghost!, Darwin Deez, Maskinen, Hercules and Love Affair, Chromeo, Tiefschwarz and Hurts (and to interview Friendly Fires and the Big Pink), let’s have a short and final retrograd look on Friday night. After Jónsi some strange sitar sounds led us to Yeasayer, where Chris Keating showed up with a vocal performance with all the sexiness and extravaganza immediately reminding us of Prince and, yes somehow, Michael Jackson in their greater days. One haven’t seen and heard such thing in quite a long time and would have perfectly fit on the big main stage, where The XX were facing the mammoth task to present their intimate and minimalistic compositions within such a great frame. Apparently, they did it master it well. Key role was taken over by Jamie once again, who was enthroned behind a great, white X on black ground and a laser light roof drawn over the Ferropolis. He not only did rearranged the band’s songs but relined them with some heavy beats. And who watched Oliver trying out some unexpected, standard rock bassist moves, can may predicted the possible new direction this band will take from now on.
• 16 July 2010
Gian Luca Lombard takes amazing photographs
Oliver Sim (The XX) 1
• 16 July 2010
Oliver’s setlist from the Auckland Laneway Festival, Feb 01
Thank you thefunpowderplot
• 6 July 2010
The park headlining performance
Some pictures I took whilst on the front barrier of The xx’s headline show at The Park Stage at Glastonbury last weekend
Thank you Matt!!! Check out his flickr:
• 1 July 2010