LIVE: The xx (o2 Brixton Academy, London, 8/3/17)

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The xx (photo: Tabetha Parrick)

Four years after their last UK tour, The xx played the first of a seven night residency at The O2 Brixton Academy, as they set about breaking the record for the longest sold out run at the venue.

The first night set consisted of a mixture of old and new songs all played in a unique way that differed from the recorded versions. Opening with new single, Say Something Loving, from their recently released third album I See You, the songs merged together to include old singles from their debut album. Towards the end of the set Jamie xx even sampled his cover of Sweet Like Chocolate by Shanks & Bigfoot before going on to play a full version of his song Loud Places from his solo album In Colour.

The magnitude of what they had achieved was not lost on the trio as they expressed gratitude and disbelief towards the crowd many times. Romy Madley Croft told fans that the Brixton Academy was where they had their first ever live music experiences, going on to point out exactly where they each stood. While Oliver Sim was mostly overcome with emotion, even expressing tears while watching his bandmate stand centre stage and play the song Performance on her own.

Completely made up of mirrors, including a ceiling panel which was angled so you could clearly see Jamie and his set, the stage filled with ethereal light which evolved with the music. During song Basic Space from their debut album, which was sang in a very minimalistic, stripped back way, Oliver and Romy moved their mics forward and were highlighted by a single spotlight. To contrast during Loud Places, lights of every colour of the rainbow filled the stage making it seem like a dream.

The band finished by playing their first new single, On Hold, which had fans dancing and filled the venue with energy. This was followed by old song Intro which, even though it is an instrumental, still had the crowd singing along. This merged into the much anticipated track Angels and emotions were high as fans realised the set was drawing to a close.

It was a dramatic yet intimate show, one that anyone who was lucky enough to be there will be talking about for a very long time.

Words & photos: Tabetha Parrick

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