11 Jul 2013

the xx

In no way, shape or form would we consider ourselves to be connoisseurs of music.
Quite often you'll find that whatever Verity has listened to, Scarlett has not, and whatever Verity does listen to, it's usually the same thing for days on end until it becomes monotonous. Cyril Hahn?

That doesn't mean to say we don't have an admirable degree of taste when it comes to music; we are actually in agreement on most things. Hence the reason why, when Verity scored tickets to see The xx at the Ritz on Tuesday night, we mutually agreed to share the event with you.

Verity: "I've not been on vacation for a while, but I still remember what it feels like to step off an economy flight into an invisible wall of sweltering heat; which is exactly the sensation I felt walking into the Ritz. Straight to the bar, it would seem that tap water has never tasted so good. Considering this gig to be one of the most stationary I have ever been to, I did emerge at the end - what's the polite term for dripping in sweat - perspirationally-challenged?

 However, back to the point in question, The xx.
Currently taking up residency in Manchester; the trio are here as part of the first ever Manchester International Festival; playing a series of intimate shows to a crowd of up to no more than 60 people, as well as a more commercial show, for those unfortunate enough not to lay their hands on those tickets, namely moi.

Every component of that show however, no matter how minor, made the entire experience feel intimately enticing. From Oliver Sim's caramel coated, sultry vocals and perfectly choreographed sways with his bass guitar, to Romy Madley Croft's genuine and emotionally adorned lyrical declarations; every bit of eye contact between themselves, at times, felt incredibly personal. As though we were intruders, observing what should have been a seemingly private love affair and thereafter break up. If that is how the atmosphere hangs in a room filled with over 250 people, then I can only begin to imagine what those 60 must encounter.

With a setlist of songs about heartbreak; the music switched from sinister to beautiful to despairing, a melting pot of melodious emotions, which captivated the audience, exactly the way in which they were intended. Even the visual displays prompted photo opportunity after photo opportunity; backed by elaborate, effulgent lighting, the threesome were often cast into a black shadow, perfectly timed to whatever sentiment filled the room. Genius also, the way in which they reworked some of their more popular material; at one point remixing 'Chained' with Artful Dodger's 'Movin' too fast'.

The way they individually and collectively perform with such ease and precision; even Jamie Smith (Jamie xx) with his swift exchanges over synths and percussion, prompts me to suggest that their live sounding and performance varies so little to their prerecorded work. Born theatrical performers, as well as immensely talented musicians.

With Jamie xx taking centre stage and showing just what he's capable of with a DJ set on Friday at Gorilla; if you haven't seen The xx yet, then at some point during the near future, please do"

[ Images c/o Anna Boulton | Lauren Kelly | Emily Bromley | Steven Stafford ]