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I had been aware that The xx were scheduled to play a sold out and highly anticipated headlining show at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis on this past Friday. But, I hadn't planned on attending since it had sold out before I became aware of the show.

So, it was lucky for me that my friend Kathie contacted me early last week to inform me she had an extra ticket for the show if I was interested. Needless to say, I was very interested. And, so I found myself waiting with everyone else in line before the doors opened with Kathie.

The XX (Varsity Theater, Mpls., 2010-04-09)

I had never been to the Varsity Theater for a live show. I had been to the venue the past couple of years to attend the annual Asian Media Access Lunar New Year gala. So, it was (a) interesting to see the venue set up for a show and (b) to order an alcoholic beverage from the bar. I was a happy camper to find that the Varsity served my favorite beer, Surly Brewing's Furious. So with Furious in hand, we settled in at a spot at stage left (which was separated from the crowd by a metal barrier by about four feet).

Nosaj Thing

First up was Nosaj Thing.

By the way, he was recently interviewed by Giant Robot magazine in issue 63 (I think). Nosaj Thing's current album, "Drift", comes highly recommended. Especially if you're a fan of hip-hop beats-based electronic music. If you're interested in hearing it, I would recommend signing up for a free account on Lala.com and streaming the album once for free.

Here are some images from his set:

Nosaj Thing (Varsity Theater, Mpls., 2010-04-09) Nosaj Thing (Varsity Theater, Mpls., 2010-04-09)

Excellent set, by the way. I think he played for about 35-45 minutes. It sounded great and I enjoyed watching him manipulate whatever controller he uses for live performances even though I couldn't see exactly what he was doing.


Next up was jj.

I had listened briefly to their release jj nº 2 about a month ago, but was otherwise pretty unfamiliar with them. When their set started, there was a woman sitting on a stool with an acoustic guitar who played a couple songs. At that point, she stepped over to an Apple MacBook Pro and proceeded to start a video presentation which was displayed on a screen at the back of the stage and backing tracks to sing to. The video was comprised of slow motion video of the group members, the group's performances, and miscellaneous other bits of video.

At this point, the other person in the group would come on stage at seemingly random points, pick up the guitar, strum it for a little bit, put down the guitar, and then wander off the stage. All the while, the woman was singing but not much else. A couple of times, the guy came out, spoke some words to her, then wandered back off the stage.

Needless to say, without knowing what exactly was going on, I wasn't all that impressed.

The xx

At this point, a large white curtain that blocked our view of the stage was lowered (it had been raised the entire time for the supporting acts) as they set up for The xx. At this point, Kathie mentioned that the venue looked pretty packed. I hadn't really turned around much once the musical acts started to perform so I was pretty surprised when I turned to look at this point.

Soon, the lights went out and a bright white light was lit from somewhere behind the stage. My view looked like this

The XX (Varsity Theater, Mpls., 2010-04-09)

The band started playing with the curtain lowered. I think they started with "Intro". But, in dramatic fashion, it dropped to the floor as the band went into their next song. And, of course, the crowd ate it up (me, too).

The XX (Varsity Theater, Mpls., 2010-04-09)

The xx started as a four-piece but became a three piece late last year. Though, honestly, I didn't notice anything lacking in their current configuration. The music sounded great live and the bass was loud, strong, and deep (which also felt great).

The XX (Varsity Theater, Mpls., 2010-04-09)

They played all of the songs that have been released as singles thus far, plus other material from the album.

The XX (Varsity Theater, Mpls., 2010-04-09)

The XX (Varsity Theater, Mpls., 2010-04-09)

All in all, I was very glad that I got a chance to see these guys perform. Thanks again to Kathie for the ticket!

(BTW, clicking on any image in this post will take you to the Flickr page for the image. All photos from this show can be found on Flickr here.)


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Apr. 13th, 2010 06:50 am (UTC)
Yes, friends with an extra tickets are supremely nice. Its almost as good as winning the lottery.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )