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The xx / Warpaint – October 8, 2010 Venue: The Granada

By Roy Turner Photos by Roy Turner
When the xx took the stage an electric jolt was pumped through the crowd. Really, when the first guitar chords reached their ear drums, people freaked out. I had no idea – I had seen them, seemingly everywhere, at SXSW earlier this year as one of the most hyped bands, but this place was sold out and had been for weeks and this crowd was ready. No offense to the band, but I just didn’t know that this band could inspire this type of enthusiasm.

The band launched into Crystalised, built on big beats and simple chords, the XX’s cold, slinky rock has such great promise and build up but never actually pops. Its very enjoyable but its akin to that feeling of having to sneeze, but you never actually get to.

Dressed all in black, silhouetted in front of a glowing fluorescent “x,” strobe lights bouncing off of them just so, they looked every bit the part of young art stars. Playing album favorites Basic Space and Islands, the band sounded good and crisp, they fleshed out their set with two almost unrecognizable (and oddly chosen) covers – Robin S’ 1993 hit Show Me Love and Womack & Womack’s immortal Teardrops much to my collected confusion.

Shuffling seductively, the crowd followed every groove as the lights formed smoke rings on the wall but there was nothing hot-blooded about the set at all. The songs quietly dripped like icicles from a roof top full of unfulfilled promises and melancholy, which was very pretty to begin with, but after an hour or so got extremely depressing.

It made one hungry for a guitar solo or some filthy lyrics about sex in the club. Anything for a break in the desolation, or for me, I just simply wanted openers, Warpaint to return to the stage. Which they actually did at the end to join the xx for a noisy meltdown of chaos that brought the fun level up a bit.

Warpaint opened the show with a brief, but very effective set that in my opinion completely upstaged the xx in every way. In musicianship, execution and certainly originality. Their was just something about them, I’m still trying to put my finger on. It had the no-nonsense appeal of Fugazi, but without the coldness. Their was something very rich and sultry about the whole thing. Playing mostly new songs from the forthcoming debut full length, The Fool, it was just an exciting affair of how full of attitude, that breeded and sincere sense of integrity. The band has gotten a lot of press this year, namely for having a few famous ex- members, namely actress Shannyn Sossamon and current Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer.


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