I’m waiting for The xx to come on the main stage at Glastonbury.
Although I would rather be right at the front of the crowd, I will have to make do with the BBC’s live coverage.
As the darkness falls and smoke fills the stage, the haunting intro synth of ‘Try’ kicks in waiting for their arrival on stage. It’s hard to imagine a stranger band to be ending the festival; the audience aren’t expecting high tempo songs to party along with into the night, but a complete immersion in the melancholy atmospheres provided uniquely by The xx.
After the clapped rhythms and sparse melodies of ‘Heart Skips A Beat’ grips the stage, a short burst of high tempo from ‘Crystalised’ dissolves back down into the textural soundscapes with both Romy Madley Croft’s and Oliver Sim’s voice bouncing off each other perfectly. The energy on stage is remarkable for a band that makes Placebo’s ‘Meds’ album sound like a soundtrack to a joyous birthday party.
The night continues in the same direction with the distinctive steel drum verses and choruses of ‘Reunion’ (ignoring the titling errors provided by the BBC) and the introverted yet orchestral ‘Missing’. ‘Fiction’ sees Sim’s deep, raw vocals given a chance to shine, as he puts the bass to the side and takes to the microphone for the whole song.
A much needed injection of energy comes from the electronic beat backed outro to ‘Night Time’ with its tangible tempos continuing into reworked versions of ‘Swept Away’ and ‘Shelter’. The up beat nature is renewed with the sing along ‘VCR’ and ‘Islands’ getting the fans heavily involved. It’s clear to see The xx have judged the dynamics of their set list brilliantly, knowing exactly when to change from sombre chords to lively beat-driven passages.
As the chilling, instrumental track ‘Intro’ ends, The xx’s heart felt thank you to the fans is a giant reminder that the band is barely eight years old, yet they have the presence and finesse of a band that have been around for three times as long.
Overall it is an hour of beauty, stripping back the performance so that the music shines through. All of the miniscule details of the original songs are masterfully recreated and are combined with new elements which, in most parts, only added to the music. The xx have more than justified why they were headlining Glastonbury on Sunday, with a flawless show and a rare moment of aural heaven.