Real Live Action

The xx

April 13 @ Commodore Ballroom

Review By Sancho McCann

The xx, photo by Steve Louie
The xx, photo by Steve Louie
The show at the Commodore was the xx’s second show in Vancouver—their first as a headliner. Their visit in November must have left a good impression, because this show was sold out for months. A lot of the crowd was hoping for some new material, but none was coming. The xx stuck with what’s been working for them—their minimal, no-excess look and sound—and it worked this night. Wearing black, with simple gold chains being the only flourishes, the trio of Jamie Smith, Romy Croft and Oliver Sim took a backseat to their sound. Spotlights alternately lit Croft and Sim, each fading back into the darkness as their lines finished. Their sound is bassy, syncopated, and simple. Two notes at a time seems to be closest to a chord you’ll hear from their instruments, letting the vocal harmonies through clearly. The xx were initially a group of four, but three seems to be all they need. They had the crowd from the moment their giant X was displayed to the track “Intro”. Their set-list played like their album on shuffle, with one exception: a cover of Kyla’s “Do You Mind”, where Smith traded his electronics for live drums. They played one encore: “Stars,” which came with a smile (the first of the show), as they thanked guests jj and Nosaj Thing. The crowd was thoroughly satisfied. Vancouver will welcome the XX back again.