I can't give it up
Back to the good all days at the Empire, those of sold out shows and kick-ass bands setting up on stage. After the Olympic summer indolence, Shepherd's Bush welcomed The xx.
I was first happy to be introduced live to the sounds of London rockers 2:54, who I had already spotted on the radio - but who opened at a moment when, unfortunately, I couldn't indulge in them properly.
As it turned out, it took me a while to warm up to the band in the spotlight all the same. For totally different reasons.. Opener Angels, from xx's brand new album Coexist, caught our attention with the dramatic fall of the curtain after it's first warm-up verses; but trademark sexy love beats, like Heart Skipped A Bit, seemed to surprisingly blend in - in a bad way.. As in I couldn't really feel and be swept by their presence, spot a performance that sticks out in this crowded, artfully lit space. Cause if the band has anything going for them, apart from their sneakily addictive tunes, it's the equally heady light/shadow show that accompanies the general sonic inebriation; one that makes for an almost tangible, fully-blown artwork. Meant-to-be-highlight Crystalised was played all too quickly - and though you got to admire bands who have the guts to alter their most-wanted hit on stage, the way things were going that was slightly a downer.
But that's when things actually started to pick up (as if, at last, they got rid of the main stress of the show). I don't know if it's just me, but I always thought the xx can take their time to get you addicted anyway. Night Time, Shelter and, above all, my personal highlight Infinity got me at last in the mood that you'd really expect from an xx show. And then, plausibly, they got off without an encore (a fan complained, but they've been getting enough applause, they don't have to push it even more).
I haven't gotten addicted to Coexist yet (though those shape-shifting colours in the related youtube videos are getting me there); I can't even say the show got me super-impressed. But to Coexist a little more time? Yes, I can definitely do that.
P.S. Was it my idea or they speak on the mic exactly like they sing? Is this for real?! As if their speaking voice would spoil the mood (he he, well, it might as well!.).