The XX have been much hyped over the past 12-18 months by all the music press and tonight Academy 2 is ram packed with only a few spaces left before the exit door at the rear of this large room. The other reason is their beautifully crafted CD having done well in the charts thanks to songs like “Crystalised”,”VCR” and “Heart Skipped a Beat”.
On CD The XX sound much more laid back and soothing with the softly spoken lyrical exchange between Romy Croft and Oliver Sims, But live they lose a bit of that laid back chilled sound, and the backing DJ/Percussionist is the main reason for this. The bass he was producing was enough to have any teen boy/girl racer in their supped up Citroen Saxos salivating. It was in fact so strong that when I was photographing the first 3 songs from the security pit, when the bass kicked in it was hard to stand still as it was pushing my legs backwards with its ferocity.
Romy and Oliver’s soft vocals and soft guitar exchanges sometimes failed to blend well with the beastly bass and made them go from relaxing sound of their CD to a more of a club based sound. Although at times the crowd was singing loud enough to hear them over the thunderous bass.
It was a pleasant set consisting mostly of songs from the debut CD and also a great XX style version of Teardrops by Womack and Womack neatly placed into the set for good measure.
Personally I prefer the chilled Yazoo meets Joy Division sound of their CD to the live experience but I think I was in the minority considering how much the crowd seemed to enjoy themselves
Stand out moment was the spine tingling “Crystalised”.
Review and photos – Andy Watson