Review: The xx At The Mann Center In Philadelphia

By Michael Cerio

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — “Philadelphia, we do appreciate each and every one of you tonight,” remarked Romy Madley Croft, of London’s The xx, near the close of their Wednesday night set at The Mann Center in Philadelphia.

Bathed in purple light, the somber yet sweet tones of the band’s “Angel” would follow and ring through the Fairmount Park trees. Tender and vulnerable, yet surefooted, it was a fitting close after an evening of polite pop proficiency from the band.

The night was very much a celebration of this year’s critically-acclaimed album I See You, but the band also played a solid amount from their self-titled debut.

The soft coaxing voice of Romy and co-lead singer Oliver Sim shined over the mirrored stage and 80’s art deco design. Crisp and subtle and all in black, The xx began the night in driving fashion, bouncing about with guitars in hand to tunes like “Say Something Loving” and early favorite “Crystalised”. All the while Jamie xx manned the machines and the drums, perched above as the neon swirled.

The xx was perhaps misplaced at The Mann and it’s outdoor Skyline Stage, as a muggy May night made for a festival atmosphere. The emotional intimacy of the trio sometimes operated on a different wavelength then those there for the beers and blankets. They did manage to win back the crowd later in the set though as The xx turned up the tempo and stride through songs like “VCR” and “Dangerous”.

As things picked up, so did the crowd of mostly mid-twenty-somethings. They reached their most jubilant moment collectively during the swaggering, Daryl Hall & John Oates sampling single “On Hold” which led to impromptu dance parties across the Fairmount field.

“We see you, and we love you, and we’ll hopefully see you again soon” Romy expressed softly as the dancing subsided and the night came near a close.

As the affecting “Angels” sustained to silence and the crowd applauded, the three gathered at the front of the stage for a wave and an appreciative bow. The blankets were collected and an enjoyable evening ended with The xx.

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