Posted in music | pictures on August 3, 2012

photos by Toby Tenenbaum; words by Andrew Sacher

The xx at Terminal 5, 8/2/2012
The XX

The xx released their hugely buzzed about debut, xx, back in 2009, and then kept pretty quiet after their 2010 tour ended. Now they're set to release its followup, Coexist, on September 11, just over three years since xx came out, which begs the question: do The xx still have it or was xx just a random stroke of genius and a bit of luck? Going by their show at Terminal 5 last night (8/2), their first of four NYC shows since 2010 on their North American tour (three of which, including last night, are sold out), I'd say they more than still have it. The crowd reactions were some of the most massive I've seen at any show this year. For almost any given moment of material from their debut being played, most of the 3,000 or so people in Terminal 5 were singing along at the top of their lungs. Even during the band's opening song, "Angels," the single off the new album, a huge chunk of the crowd already knew every word.

Any fears that the relatively quiet band wouldn't be able to handle a large venue like Terminal 5 were immediately crushed as well. At exactly 9:30 the lights in the venue shut off and the band's giant 'X' appeared lit up on the stage's backdrop, and from that moment on the band had complete control of the entire night. They played drowned in fog and glowing pastel colored floodlights, with sleepy visuals drifting behind them. Frontpeople Romy Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim performed with the sultriness of R&B singers but swung their guitars like rockers, and Jamie xx took over the backline with countless boards, drum pads, acoustic drums, and more. Their sound includes many reference points -- the wandering guitar of Beach House, the singer/songwriter meets beatmaker approach which is shown in their influence on James Blake -- but The xx truly have their own sound, and the new material continues to reflect that. Jamie xx has said he has a more prominent role in the songwriting for the new album, and it shows. The deep house of "Reunion" and the dancey "Swept Away" reflect an influence from the club scene that Jamie's solo work has ties to, and when combined with the band's signature guitar/bass/vocal work, it marks unchartered territory for The xx.

Though the show provided increased anticipation for the new record, it was largely about old favorites as well. Every song on their debut was performed, with the largest moments coming during "VCR," "Islands," and Jamie's huge crashes in "Infinity." They began their encore with "Intro," which saw the band and the lightshow at their most intense of the night, and because of the wordless song gave the crowd nothing to sing to, they provided piercing shouts of applause throughout the entire thing. Like they usually do, they ended the set with a reworked version of "Stars," which sees Jamie bringing in heavy beats at the end, in comparison to the more somber album version. This show wasn't easy to pick a standout from, but if pressed, that performance of "Stars" had to be it.

The band's next NYC show is the much smaller Staten Island venue Snug Harbor Music Hall on Monday (8/6), which tickets are still available for. After that, they'll continue to tour North America and make their way back to NYC for two sold shows in the Bronx at the Paradise Theater in October.

The show began with a DJ set from Jacques Greene and a live set from New Look. More pictures from last night's show are below.

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New Look

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The xx Terminal 5 8/2/12 Setlist:
Angels
Islands
Heart Skipped a Beat
Fiction
Crystalised
Fantasy
Shelter
VCR
Reunion
Sunset
Basic Space
Night Time
Swept Away (Take Care intro)

Encore:
Intro
Tides
Stars

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Comments (31)

The visuals were great. But let me be the first of many to complain about the crowd. Incessant talking, cameras constantly in the air and little interest in the actual show. Don't blame it on Terminal 5 either - this happens everywhere, just happened to be extremely bad last night.

The sound could have been much louder, which might have helped drown out the talking - even for a quieter band.

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 10:58 AM

Sound wasn't that much of an issue but I agree about the talking.

What is important is how great the new songs sound.

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 11:07 AM

I do not understand the appeal I'd this band. Jamie xx is
Looking like a lesbian lately

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 11:12 AM

That biddie was mad bangin on stage... and I don't mean the fat one

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 11:12 AM

Unreadable review.

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 11:17 AM

$30 for a white shirt with a black X on it.

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 11:17 AM

A couple of the new songs will sound great in smaller rooms.

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 11:25 AM

Stopped reading after seeing, yet again, the incorrect usage of "begs the question." "Begs the question" is NOT a synonym for "raises the question."

Begs the question is, as any google search will tell you, a form of logical fallacy in which a premise is assumed true with no other evidence than the statement itself. "I think the XX is a great band because they are." That's begging the question. Or, "I think people who live in Williamsburg are assholes because they're dicks."

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 11:31 AM

Whoa, New Look! Awesome they got to open such a big gig :)

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 11:33 AM

New Look sounded like Zola Jesus, except even worse. That chick couldn't have cared less about being on stage. Excruciating set. And yes, I would.

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 11:34 AM

a band of intros.

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 11:35 AM

hummuslinsanitykickballkatystits7.5inches

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 11:36 AM

11:31, I was going to say the same thing. Please just look things up if you're not sure how to use them! (Even if you THINK you're using a phrase correctly, Andrew, you are probably not so just check.) The internet has many answers for you!

Also, how are visuals sleepy?

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 12:05 PM

I saw this band at what used to be Bruar Falls but is now The Grand Victory on Grand in Williamsburg just a few years ago. They still had the Indian girl on second guitar. Judging back then, there was no way this band was gonna get this big. Was anybody else there?

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 12:07 PM

why can't the guy who wrote the def leppard review at least edit some of these reviews

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 12:08 PM

the fact that the staten island show isn't sold out is just silly.

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 12:11 PM

The guitar player looks like Rosie O'Donnell

Posted by AnnonHUMMUS | August 3, 2012 12:29 PM

"The fact that the staten island show isn't sold out is just silly."

Thanks for the tip, just grabbed a "General Admission Seating" ticket.

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 12:52 PM

arent they just a trend? thats why the audience talks, is because theyre there to be there then to say they saw it not for music. xx aignt usic its fashion and rosieodonnels on bass.

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 1:19 PM

11:31 and 12:05

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question#Modern_usage

"[In modern usage] Many English speakers use 'begs the question' to mean 'raises the question'"

and that "because of shifts in usage in both Latin and English over the centuries, the relationship of the literal expression to its intended meaning is unintelligible"

So you can argue that it makes in sense in common usage, which is completely appropriate in blog writing, where many phrases used are in common usage.

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 1:24 PM

Who paid $30 for a t-shirt with a big X on it?

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 2:09 PM

^ or you can all just get a fucking life

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 2:18 PM

1:24 -- You're correct that the way people use words and phrases over time changes their meaning, or at least makes them acceptable. I don't know who made that rule, though. Seems to be if something's wrong, it's wrong. Even if a bunch of idiots keep repeating it.

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 3:06 PM

@3:06 -- it's called linguistics and grammar. there is really no such thing as "wrong."

that said, it still baffles me that people are so passionate about grammar and usage on a blog like brooklynvegan.

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 5:17 PM

Dear Andrew, Love your work. Ignore those fools.

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2012 5:21 PM

@2:09 the same people who paid $300 on stubhub for a ticket to this - They opened for the kills a few years back at webster hall - didn't even go inside to see them then

Posted by Anonymous | August 5, 2012 12:26 PM

Internet grammar nazis will one day be cited as the reason why some clown walks into his school and blows the shit up. Save lives - stop feeding these trolls.

Posted by Anonymous | August 5, 2012 1:30 PM

I don't think it's luck. The xx are talented and they earned their fame by the talent they have. It's rare people become famous without some form of talent. This band is awesome and they deserve all the fame and attention.

Posted by ontario honey | November 25, 2012 4:59 PM

Riff Raff!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by cn arabic | January 13, 2013 8:47 AM

@2:09 the same people who paid $300 on stubhub for a ticket to this - They opened for the kills a few years back at webster hall

Posted by cartoon network arabic | February 16, 2013 7:29 PM

the xx the greatest band ever.

Posted by jordon | July 25, 2013 1:15 PM

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