Gig-whores like myself who know this important fact – venue is very crucial to whether a show is good.
A band like the XX is one that has minimal movement on stage; they, and I mean just two front-liners who either stare at the ground (commonly known as shoe-gazing), or swing their guitars in a cool fashion. All you need at a concert like theirs is a sound system your house can never accommodate for you to drown yourself in it.
Many locals like myself, are not familiar with The Star Performing Arts Centre, which is reportedly a site for church services. Now it’s not a secret that churches can be insanely rich, and the Star Theatre is expectedly one that meets the standards. The state-of-the-art theatre allows up to 5,000 pax and I must say that even the seats far away from the stage, had a decent view of the band. The sound and balance was enough to rouse the fully-packed theatre.
The saavy ‘indie’ kids took their time to arrive at the venue as they knew the band would only start after the opening set by a DJ. When the melody riff of Try sounded, the crowd went wild. Lights dimmed and everyone hyped themselves up for the show.
The XX mixed their set with songs from Coexist and The XX, and accompanying their minimal movement on stage and lack of speeches were laser beams and lights. The intensity of the light performance only grew mid-way though, which could have been done right from the start, to supplement the mood of the dream-pop music.
Romy and Oliver sounded exactly like they do on a CD, and the delay and effects were perfectly in place. The unsung hero Jamie Smith was also doing his thing behind them, on an elevated stage-wide console. Despite being miles away from them, I could see Jamie beating on his electronic drum pads and his crash cymbals.
The XX played all the crowd favourites, including Intro for the encore, and ended with Angels. They took a bow before they left for the night. The whole show by them lasted about an hour.
Bands like theirs are not visually appealing because they don’t move or even talk much, but that’s how a gig for their genre would be like. That’s why sound is very important and thankfully, The Star Performing Arts Centre was good enough for it. That’s how the XX marked the spot and hit it.