The xx played a perfect set on Wednesday, July 25, at the Showbox in Seattle, Washington. Having missed them in Portland at least once, I was determined to see them on this mini-US Tour.
The show was obviously meeting a longstanding desire folks have to see this band live, evidenced by the audience filled with more fans than those simply following the hype. The individual standing near me was quick to point out the new album is coming out in September. A couple standing next to me were all over each other for the entire show, exemplifying the statement that the xx make good sex music.
The set included songs from the last album, in addition to about four new songs. Crystallized was slowed down. Everything else was fairly straight-ahead, with Romy (Madley-Croft) jamming some mid-song improvisations, in addition to little nuances here and there. The thing I love about their debut album was apparent in this performance: subtle intensity. Their music is so perfectly simple, minimal, and yet their sound is so compelling and full of energy.
My age (and 80’s rock guitar solo bias) came through while thinking back to their guitar banter. Oliver (Sims) and Romy’s jams seemed stilted and a bit forced. Definitely not a deal breaker as far as my love of this performance. Closing my eyes briefly, the sound never faltered. Watching them though, I certainly wouldn’t mistake them for Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs facing each other with duelling guitars at a Scorpions show.
They played a three song encore. They were gracious throughout the entire set with a little bit of talking by the band members – Sims commenting they’d “be back” soon. I am anxious to hear the final product all cleaned up when the new album comes out on September 11th.