It’s the seventh and final night in The xx’s residency at London’s O2 Academy Brixton.
The xx have built a career on minimalism. Their sound is predominantly stripped back, presenting the foundations of an electronic sound often embellished by their contemporaries. It’s an attitude they take forward into their live performance. Other than some spectacular lighting, not least as a rainbow envelops the iconic building, it is their raw tales of heartbreak and vulnerability that lead the show.
The homecoming celebration is dominated by material from their third full-length I See You. Their flirtations with eclectic electronic sounds, courtesy of wide-reaching DJ Jamie xx, offers a new dimension to their music. His skills shine bright during a reworked version of fan favourite Shelter, and as the dramatic pre-encore break launches into the euphoric On Hold.
The arrival of Florence Welch (of The Machine fame) for a cover of The Source’s You’ve Got The Love is met with deafening approval from the crowd; the track reworked once again by the headline band. It sits next to co-vocalist Romy Madley Croft’s haunting solo renditions, showcasing the band’s notable variety.
The evening fittingly ends with their down-tempo Angels, proving that The xx haven’t stepped too far from the minimalism that launched their career. It’s testament to their considered balance of sounds, and the power of both sides of their distinctive coin. Whether they are energising the crowd or serenading them with exposed emotion, it’s easy to see how they have found themselves on their seventh sold-out night in London.
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