The xx @ The Forum
People were pretty bloody excited to catch The xx tonight. Rightfully so, as this was the first of two relatively intimate Australian promo shows, of which tickets were distributed by lottery system – and consequentially, by eBay system. It resulted in a weird atmosphere – the air of exclusivity encouraged many to spend the whole set engaging in conversation with their friends, as the main achievement of the night was to simply be at the gig, rather than experience it. It wouldn't really be a problem at any other show, but it kind of spoiled The xx's hushed dynamic.
They opened with Angels, a track which entered the world only one day prior. “Being as in love with you as I am” - Romy's repetitious chorus permeated every crevice of The Forum, resonating beyond reproach. After a fairly sedate introduction, Jamie Smith triggered that barely audible, but distinctive bass swirl of Islands from his batcave-esque rear-of-stage setup. As soon as Oliver crooned “That bridge is on fire” from in front of an overhanging perspex 'x', it was clear that this wasn't a slapdash promo run.
The vast majority of xx received a run-through. Every cut from the album stands with an elusive timeless quality. Basic Space was performed with a breathtaking acapella first verse, guiding the audience gently into an endorphins-inducing chorus.
Jamie's house impulses were indulged with a banging coda to a new track, of which The xx dynamic was encapsulated – as the pounding kick drum commanded a bout of fist pumping, Oliver stood dutifully still as he stared into his glass of red wine, before once again caressing his bass on cue.
The encore was preceded by the big perspex 'x' being filled by a smoke machine – probably the only corny thing to happen tonight. Intro was loud as hell. All of the The xx's finely crafted underlying tensions erupted with each of Jamie's sample triggers. It was amazing.
With heartfelt gratitude, Oliver thanked the crowd and bid farewell – promising to return in the new year.
BY LACHLAN KANONIUK
LOVED: It was the best sounding gig in recent memory.
HATED: That a relentlessly foot-stomping crowd member thought it was a good idea to take pingerz on a Wednesday, at an xx show.
DRANK: A beer. It was alright.