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Monday, 31 August 2009

The XX (Reading Festival 2009) LIVE REVIEW

The XX (who i originally introduced back in June) are a group of four 20 year olds who from humble beginnings have quickly become one of the most hyped bands on the planet. They hail from South West London, and met at the Elliot School - joining 3 members of Hot Chip, Burial and Four Tet as famous musical alumni. Their quiet confidence and dark, dreamy pop sound has landed them slots at Reading & Leeds festivals, as well as support slots on Florence & The Machine's fall tour. They've toured with The Big Pink and Micachu and have a tour of their own planned for November.

Their sound is downbeat, with dark and bassy post-punk guitar lines shadowing softly spoken lyrics. With a touch more intensity, The XX's songs could have been written for Aaliyah - Romy Madley Crofts voice is 100% good enough, and they make no secret of a huge pop, soul and RnB influence on their music. The mood and execution, and the band's style is where they depart.

The XX were certainly one of the most, if not the most, downbeat acts at Reading. They delivered their songs with barely a word in between, with very little movement other than looks of reserved satisfaction. The lack of act they gave was quite clearly not due to any kind of nervousness - that's just the kind of people they appear. It would have seemed wrong for The XX to be, say, jumping around the stage like most of the acts at Reading. Particularly in this case, less was more.

No matter how famous the XX get, you can just tell from seeing them live that its not going to affect them, they truly let the music do the talking - throughout the set they only spoke to reveal 'free t-shirts at the front', and that Teardrops 'is a cover'. Furthermore, every delivery was spot on - they recreated their material perfectly, showing no signs of nervousness and no slips. Their stripped to the bones performance was totally appropriate. I can genuinely say that The XX were the only thing i saw at Reading Festival that truly blew me away. They stood out in more ways than i could have imagined.

The eponymous debut is out now (CD - VINYL via Amazon).

The XX - Crystalised (MP3) (taken from the album 'XX')

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