April 15, 2010

The xx at the Showbox

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Last Monday, just two days after seeing Jónsi, I saw The xx play in Seattle! Same venue too! The Showbox is a bit infamous for its unreliable sound quality. It really varies with the headliner, but I have to say the sound really delivered at both shows I saw. The show was originally supposed to be at the Nightlight way up in Bellingham, but it got closed down or something, so it was moved to the Showbox. Whatever it takes to bring these guys to Seattle, I guess. (I’m not going to Sasquatch :( … )

I was actually expecting a larger crowd to flock The xx show, but having arrived after the doors were opened, we found that not too large of a crowd had accumulated. I grabbed a place in the first row, right on the rail for most of the show (which I had been unable to do at the Jónsi show, despite arriving over an hour prior to the doors opening), after buying a copy of jj’s jj n° 2 at the merch stand (!!!). It felt like a beginning to a perfect night, you know?

I should have suspected that a show from identity-secreting and media-eluding Swedes, jj, should not sound as promising as I longed for it to be. Maybe the very amusing matchup of two-letter, double-syllable band names was a premonition of something too good to be. Whatever it is, jj seem to take touring as a joke, I guess. It took a few tries for The xx to get them to accompany them on tour and it seems like jj still aren’t convinced. Their live show is pathetic and disgraceful to both themselves and The xx. It consists of their music being played from a laptop while singer Elin half-heartedly sings, no doubt drugged up, in between drinking from a plastic cup and having a conversation on stage with her fellow band member, Joakim, whose main role appears to be facing backwards holding his guitar and occasionally jumping off stage. Unprofessional doesn’t even begin to describe it. Unlike Nosaj Thing, the first opener, they don’t even put effort into pretending to play their music. It’s karoke on drugs or something. Seriously, how snotty do you have to be to commit such disrespect, to both the audience and the band bringing you on tour? You can tell from the way Oliver Sim, bassist and vocalist of The xx, thanked jj for opening for them that their insolence had hit him somewhere.

The xx on the other hand, played such a fantastic show, definitely compensating for jj’s less than sub-par performance. They played nearly every song from their debut album and also a cover (the only song I don’t remember being played was Crystalised, but I could easily be missing something; I was having too much fun to remember the setlist!). Romy and Oliver’s voices proved to be very strong live and the instrumentals matched that. Their spacious pop music doesn’t seem to have much room for variance, but they managed to stick in some interesting twists while still keeping it very recognizable. I enjoyed the show as a whole, but if I am to recount “favourite parts” they would be: 1. The resonating thump of Jamie’s drum machine thing during “Fantasy” (the live version of that song also drew my attention to what Oliver to was singing), and 2. Romy’s vocals during “Shelter”. Beautiful.

Here be photos!—mostly taken by Monika Sapek, but I also snapped a few:

Nosaj Thing
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jj
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The xx
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When was the last time I went to sleep before 11 on a school night?


[currently listening to: Basic Space – The xx]

Posted by Anna at April 15, 2010 11:34 PM
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