July 24, 2012
The XX gained popularity on the festival circuit in 2010. With extensive touring behind their self-titled debut, the British indie pop group took the United States by storm. However, as of late, the band has retreated to silence in order to work on their sophomore effort, to be released this fall. After over two years off, The XX were back in action at The Henry Fonda Theater last Tuesday.
HAIM opened the night as a sister group from the valley. Their uproarious harmonies and classic rock style guitar solos certainly made a name for themselves amongst the audience of XX fans. Even though HAIM did not fit the typical bill for an opener of the XX, they were able to win the crowd over with their sheer talent. While some of the crowd was left confused the billing, most were left as instant fans by the spectacle that just unfolded. Their set finished with a bang, as all the members of the band broke out into a drum solo. They then filed into the crowd to catch a glimpse of the headliners for the night.
Being away from the scene for so long did not effect The XX, or their popularity. The set opened with their slow, spacious new single ‘Angels’ off their upcoming release,Coexist.The opening chords could not even be heard inside the small Fonda Theater, as the crowd was making their voices heard for the British trio who has been gone for so long. The first half of their set showcased most of their debut album, keeping things slow for the most part. The band even reworked some of their older songs into new tunes that were stripped down. ‘Crystalised’ worked off the silence in the room to create a hauntingly quiet new version, which worked well in a live setting. This was only the calm before the storm, however.
The second half of the set was the time to show off some of the new tunes. All rumors were audibly confirmed that the new album would have a more dance club centered feel to it. A new upbeat side to the band was released on the crowd, which came with a very positive reaction. Jamie XX was in his element has he ran back and fourth between his set up of instruments making beats that were rattling the Fonda floor. After playing most of their debut, and a good serving of their upcoming album, the band finished their set by taking it down a few notches with the crowd favorite, ‘Stars.’
Overall, the night was very well rounded. Each member of the band was able to find their niche amongst the performance, which made it that much better. Romy Madley-Croft used every crevice of the Fonda to display her spacious guitars, Oliver Sim captured the crowd with his deep voice and glares into the darkness, and Jamie XX took production to a whole other level to make a name for himself in the rhythm section. Honorable mention also goes to the lighting and visuals, which definitely defined the show in different ways, and made several songs much more interactive.
As Coexist is ready to make an appearance in September, the band looks much more comfortable in their skin. Their live show is visibly greatly improved, and their sound has matured. The band will be back to Los Angeles in October on a proper tour, where they are sure to create more of a stirrup in the SoCal music industry.
The XX setlist @ The Henry Fonda Theater 7/23/12
Heart Skipped a Beat