Friday, November 13, 2009

The xx at Bowery Ballroom

The xx’s self titled debut album is one of my albums of the year and the Bowery Ballroom is one of my favorite venues in NYC…so why did the show last night seem a bit forgettable? Its not that I did not enjoy the music, in fact I thought they sounded good throughout the set, especially considering it was their first time playing NYC as a 3 piece. They took the stage at about 10:30 dressed in their standard black and played for an hour. Their set included most of the songs from their album and a cover of Teardrops by Womack & Womack. So what was wrong? Was it the crowd? Was it a lack of stage presence? From where I was the crowd seemed like they were into it although as usual there was a few people talking loudly. At one point the girl next to me said. “This may be my new favorite band!” She then continued talking loudly to a drunken Irish guy until she realized everyone was glaring at her. At that point I decided it was a good time to grab a drink and relocate. The band seemed pretty comfortable on the stage, mentioning at different points that NYC was starting to feel like there second home and they had just finished playing their first headline tour. Ultimately I think it’s just that the nature of the downbeat minimalist music they play does not quite translate to a live setting when people want to party. Often throughout the show I was wishing I could have been lying down. I thought they did a good job recreating the song as it is on the record. It’s just that it seems that is all they really do. I guess I could use a little more energy and fire in a live setting. Give the band some time though, they could figure it out. Until then I might as well just listen to the record.

I liked the opener Jon Hopkins. Pushed lots of buttons. Cool stuff.

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