Saturday Night: The xx at House of Blues

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At the front of the stage, it was readily apparent that Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim have become supremely comfortable playing before large audiences. As opposed to March 2010, when they nervously stood onstage and recreated a few songs note-for-note from the record, the two singers were having obvious fun performing their severely serious music. Specifically, the music took on this Bauhaus-meets-Burial feel whenever the lanky Sim prowled center stage with his bass.

Nevertheless, the crowd took on its most rapturous quality when Croft's breathy alto whispered out the words to standout cuts like "Angels," "Chained," "VCR," and "Shelter"; the crowd gave her space to sing the verses before joining her on the choruses. Other favorite selections from the evening include "Infinity" (which closed out the main portion of the band's set), "Stars" (which brought the three-song encore to a close), "Fiction," and "Reunion."

On the whole, the Houston crowd mostly behaved itself, clapping at the end of songs, singing along with the big singles, dancing a bit when the band laid down a nice groove (though everyone was really packed in tightly), and remaining just quiet enough when The xx dropped its levels to create its preferred ambience.

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I would also be remiss if I didn't applaud the band for learning how to tweak, expand, and recreate its sound when needed, as opposed to performing a dry take that could have been culled right off the record. I've always felt that one of the hallmarks of a talented band is when it can find new, fresh ways to reinterpret its own material for live shows.

Personal Bias: I really like this band, though I'm even more partial to all of the great Jamie xx DJ sets I've downloaded over the past couple of years.

The Crowd: A packed house of twenty- and thirtysomethings. Some folks were present because it was "the" trendy show to attend that weekend, others were there because the band has become trendy and they wanted to figure out the appeal, while still more were there because they actually enjoyed the music.

Overheard In the Crowd: "Somebody brought the good weed tonight!"

Random Notebook Dump: Jamie xx took control of the show at key times in the middle third of the set, as he introduced rich samples of the sort of "future bass" and post-dubstep he creates when performing as a solo DJ. Doing so brought this wonderful New Order quality to the band's inherent Joy Division aesthetic.

Location Info

House of Blues

1204 Caroline, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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Judging by the pictures, it looks like they were every bit as good as they were in Superman II.

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