The XX @ Echo Beach, show review.

Like dating, being a concert goer can be awkward at times. Sometimes you reap the ultimate reward, sometimes you go to the washroom and never return, and most times you have absolutely no idea what you’re really getting into.

No matter how much you hype yourself up before a date, ultimately you realize that there is a part of you that is convincing yourself that you’re actually into the person, and for that matter, the band. You see a quality you like and you maximize it to embody everything about them. “Oh she has great taste in music? We’re going to get married and take our first born to Vampire Weekend’s next show”. “Oh they’re chill, cool, on trend and embody 2017? Cool, I’ve got to go to their show”.  

But usually 5 minutes in you can tell if you guys mesh or not. You can tell who really wants to be there, and you pick off the vibe of the setting within minutes. Maybe the fact that she’s a recluse creative, isn’t enough to keep you interested anymore. But if she’s anything like the xx, then he/she is probably the king of vibes, because as far as vibes go, Jamie and folk, are the vibiest vibers to ever vibe.

If you’re still reading this after that vibe filled paragraph then kudos to you. I’m hoping to one day write an entire piece consisting of the word vibes.

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I carried some interesting expectations into the concert. As far as the xx’s music goes, I really do enjoy it. I think its simplistic delicacy is beautiful, and the chemistry between Oliver and Romy is soothing and refreshing. All of that wrapped in Jamie XX’s virtuoso production is a stomping ground for music excellence. But if I’m being honest with myself, I really just assumed they’d stand there and play their chill tracks while couples spooned back and forth like a rocking boat.  I really do like them, but sometimes their music is just so “vibey” it’s tough to constantly appreciate them. It’s moody music, not all-purpose music, and for that matter I figured the show would be a date that wasn’t bad, but not quite memorable. Worthy of a second date, but really only because you had nothing else to do.

But to my and probably everyone’s surprise, they absolutely destroyed Echo Beach, which for all you novices out there, is an actual beach. Sand and all. (Probably wouldn’t jump in the water if I were you though). It was the first date that you realize is going to be amazing the moment she gets in your car. You guys vibe, you guys connect, she plays “Someday” by The Strokes when you give her the aux chord, and there is no doubt in your mind that that there won’t be an awkward pause where you just make noises that resemble the english language.

Aside from the obnoxious humans surrounding us, who decided it was time to catch up on their past week and discuss the endless anxieties they experience each day, the general acoustics of Echo Beach were remarkable. The trio sounded straight out of a studio, and they did far more than simply stand there. They were vibing as hard as one could vibe, and don’t get me started about the vibe master, Jamie XX in the back.

Rather than simply dub and playback the electronically produced aspects of their songs, Jamie XX played every sound live. Everything from sound effects, to keyboard, to percussion was done manually, and watching him go at it in the back felt like watching a virtuoso. Songs like “Crystallized” and “VCR” were even better live, as the chemistry between Romy and Oliver was excellent, and songs like “Infinity” were given extra oomph with extended instruments and added pace. Before the encore, the xx turned Echo Beach into a dance party, with Jamie XX’s “Loud Places”. It was the closest I’ll ever be to experiencing an electronic music festival, and it was a wonderful experience. It was fun, passionate, and the perfect kickstart to summertime.

The encore included an inspired performance of “Intro” where the tempo seemed to have been picked up, and this transitioned into a goosebump inducing performance of “Angels”, where you could literally hear every person in the crowd gasp with feels.

My expectations were trumped. I will not be casually dating the xx. What started off as a low expectations crush, has exploded into what I hope is a committed relationship. Even though they said they’ll be back soon, I’m sure our next date will be in 3-4 years.  Don’t miss the opportunity to see these guys, they’ll make you forgive every underwhelming indie rock band you’ve seen this year.

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