The xx

Fri 05 Apr 2013,

Gig Reviews,

Gigs,

Music,

West Melbourne

Critics' choice
4

Songs of heartbreak and solitude lent the xx's set at Festival Hall an intimate feel

This event has finished

From playing to 800 people at the Laneway festivals in 2010, the xx have come a long way. Yet even at a sold-out gig at Festival Hall, the London trio somehow still maintain the sense of intimacy and solitude that echoes throughout their music.

Reminiscent of the Cure and New Order, the new wave-inspired songs of heartbreak and solitude are countered by electro-pop beats and hints of RnB that make a potentially depressing set come alive with indie pop and electro sounds.

Dressed in their signature uniform black, Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim say little – which is still more than Jamie Smith, more widely known as Jamie xx. Yet despite the lack of interaction, Jamie xx’s hypnotising skill on keyboards builds energy and tension. Romy’s powerful vocals are countered by Oliver’s deep, elegant style, but Jamie's the magician behind the decks and keyboards, darting from one to the other with the calmness and concentration of a teenager in his own room.

But i’s not a fly-on-the-wall situation for us – it’s being invited into an intimate space by a humble and grateful band, and that respect is reflected by the attentive audience. Mixing songs from their debut album xx with last year’s Coexist, the introverted trio showcase their strengths when experimenting with sounds and beats. ‘Intro’ is a standout, as is the toying with extended pauses and tension during ‘Crystallised’. While ‘VCR’ and ‘Islands’ are crowd favourites, these go-to singles stagnate the build-up of energy created when Jamie is given free range to do what he will. This is a man who could single-handedly bring back the marimba, and when the spotlight shines on him he takes over.

The light show is as impressive and as much as part of the set as the music. With sold out gigs across Australia, a spot on the Great Gatsby soundtrack and a welcome audition to this year’s Glastonbury line-up, the xx’s sultry sounds will be sticking around for some time to come.

First published on . Updated on .

By Gabrielle Easter   |  

The xx details

Festival Hall


Address
300 Dudley St

West Melbourne 3003

Telephone 03 9329 9699

Price from $89.50 to $89.50

Date Fri 05 Apr 2013

Open 8pm

Festival Hall details

Restaurants near Festival Hall

Outback Jack's

476m - Carnivores, this is for you: a one-kilo steak. Spend less than 30 minutes on...

Man Mo

646m - If it’s getting too windy at the Docklands take cover in Man Mo (not that...

Roller Door

743m - Located off the beaten track, Roller Door is a little piece of heaven in an...

Bars & pubs near Festival Hall

The Royal Mail on Spencer

392m - Royal Mail Hotel on Spencer is a family owned & operated pub, serving...

Joe Taylor

774m - North Melbourne’s bar scene is more Roger David than Vivienne Westwood;...

Scholars Wine Bar

797m - Sure, there are days when you will eat out and order something you could...

Other venues near Festival Hall

Spensers Live

397m - Providing quality live entertainment.

Around Docklands

409m - The Docklands is Melbourne's greatest project-in-the-making and already home...

Alumbra

553m - Alumbra is something special on Melbourne's club scene. Straddling the...

Readers' comments, reviews, hints and pictures

Community guidelines

blog comments powered by Disqus
 


© 2007 - 2014 Time Out Group Ltd. All rights reserved. All material on this site is © Time Out.