Seven nights at London’s legendary Brixton Academy is no mean feat, but this week innovative, electronic charmers The xx have taken up residency in the South London venue for a string of sold out dates. Returning to their Night + Day series, which launched in 2013, the trio have carefully crafted a line-up of supports, after parties and extracurricular activities throughout the district to celebrate the recent release of their third LP and prove they have the musical stamina to take you straight through from the night until the day.
Effervescent opener ‘Say Something Loving’ sparkles throughout the venue from the off, closely followed by ‘Crystalised’ and ‘Islands’ to remind the South London crowd where it all started. In between tracks vocalists Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim are eloquent with the audience – pointing to the middle of the crowd Oliver recounts when he first saw The White Stripes inside the iconic venue, “I was stood right there and I didn’t think Jack White could see me, but you, man with the big hair, I can see you.”
New songs glide into the set list so seamlessly showcasing the newfound upbeat pathway taken by the trio whilst still remaining cohesive with the rest of their back catalogue. Romy and Oliver mirror each other in elegance and poise on stage throughout the evening, only pausing for Romy’s solo rendition of ‘I See You’ cut ‘Performance’. The pair’s vocals have the ability to make the room feel like the most intimate setting in the world whilst Jamie xx’s production transports you to the most extravagant warehouse rave in town.
Exquisite lighting in warm hues juxtapose the band’s all black ensembles and an impressive mirrored stage set up. When they take on Jamie xx’s ‘Loud Places’ as a trio the lighting corresponds with the producer’s album cover for ‘In Colour’ and the entirety of Brixton glows back at them.
Most notably there’s not one point in the evening where all lyrical content is not echoed back to the band and the outro of ‘Intro’ sees them receive a spectacularly length rapturous applause. ‘Angels’ closes the set and in turn brings Brixton to a standstill. No longer on hold, The xx are back and these shows only cement their status further as one of the most inventive and important bands around right now.
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Words: Shannon Cotton
Photography: Ben McQuaide