GALLERY: London’s The XX – Live: “Catatonic (in a good way)”

Bless their gold chains, blank faces, Saarf London mumbling and performance/musical yoof-ness, the XX certainly are an intriguing trio.

First-three-album-era Cure/new wave guitars mix with spare drum beats and electro blips, over which the London-Soul-kissed Romy Madely Croft and Oliver Sim whisper-sing. The live show treads a musical line between groove and catatonic (in a good way), but mixed with purrty lights, a bit of drumming from mixmaster/producer Jamie Smith and the occasional shy smile and marbles-in-mouths thanks from Romy or Oliver, they’re actually pretty good.

Better, in fact, than one might expect, considering that their debut (represented fully over the hour-long set) sorta falls into the category of music cool people want to fall asleep to (which a few fans in their seats at the show actually did). Not that the songs aren’t good, they are. But they’re also low blood pressure.

Yet, interestingly, the bulk of the fresh-faced, super-young  (for the XX? Really?) crowd at Vancouver’s Commodore on April 13 were more energetic than even the band. And were singing along. Loudly. Not what one would expect, right? Nodding and/or swaying, yes. But audience participation from preps and the Gossip Girl set? Did not see that one coming. So clearly the XX are on to something.

Give ’em time. It’ll be really interesting to see what they’re like when they grow up.

The XX Live at the Commodore Ballroom was presented by Sealed with a Kiss.

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