The London trio appropriately opened its set under the cover of darkness with the popular instrumental piece off the band’s 2009 debut XX simply dubbed…”Intro.” Many in the audience mockingly sang DMX’s “Rough Riders Anthem” over the track and I knew it was going to be a night to forget for the critically acclaimed The xx.
There was no massive light show, no confetti cannons, balloons, whistles, or bells. It’s three people dressed in black, playing their music on a predominantly darkened stage, in a hazy machine generated fog cloud, their faces illuminated by a minimal amount of white front lighting. The show was visually boring and it lost the attention of many in the audience causing an exodus to the exit.
The music is very tone driven, simplistic, and even frightening at times. The lyrics are sexual banter really, conversational dirty talk in a call and answer type fashion between front-man Jamie Smith and Romy Madley.
Listening to The xx is comparable to sitting in a darkened movie theatre, by yourself, while you close your eyes tight, and listen to the sexy murder scene in your favorite cheesy slasher flick.
“I can’t take it anymore,” said one disgruntled viewer that shoved past me on his way out of That Tent. “These guys are like Pink Floyd before they realized they had talent.”
I agree with the first half of that statement. There is definitely a little Floyd influence in The xx. But this band has talent, you just have to have an open mind, or at least a narcotically altered mind, to appreciate it. And it was 11:30, so it’s very possible that angry man’s drugs had worn off.