The xx Sparkle at Radio City Music Hall

September 24th, 2013

The xx – Radio City Music Hall – September 23, 2013

The xx have managed to bypass any questions of a sophomore slump with their follow-up album, Coexist. Not much has changed with their overall sound, and fans are still enamored by their songs. The trio quietly fills atmospheres with a serenity that manages to encapsulate the attention of an entire audience. Their first gig at a sold-out Radio City Music Hall last night wouldn’t be any different. The delicate male-and-female vocals of Oliver Sim and Romy Madley-Croft effortlessly wove against the vast, ornate backdrop of the famed New York City establishment.

As floodlights blinded the audience, the black-clad trio took their places onstage setting off the evening with “Try.” Fans quickly rose for “Heart Skipped a Beat,” a favorite from the British three-piece’s debut album, xx. Another track from it, “Crystalised,” was reimagined with the delivery slowly dragged out for added drama. The night really took a turn as beats master Jamie Smith (aka Jamie xx) intertwined his own song “Far Nearer” with “Reunion.” From behind his MPC, the intro of delicately rattling steel drums climaxed into a series of double and triple beats, moving onlookers to dance among the velvet-upholstered seats. Smith continued his reign, undoubtedly breathing new life into familiar tune “Shelter.” With a crazy level of layered thump, Radio City became a nightclub sporting rays of lasers.

With little talk between songs, Sim’s few words describing the experience of playing the hallowed hall as “surreal” resonated with fans. “An incredible moment for us. This was just something we started as a hobby in our bedroom.” Nearing the end of the set, the audience joined in to sing, “I can’t give it up” on “Infinity.” Not to leave the crowd wanting more, the trio returned to encore with “Intro” and “Angels.” The latter fittingly closed the night with lyrics “Being as in love with you as I am/ Being as in love, love, love”—to which, Sim made a heart shape with his hands as he exited the stage. The love was, needless to say, mutual. —Sharlene Chiu

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo |

(The xx and Polica play Radio City Music Hall again tonight.)