The xx brought their I See You Tour to the Skyline Stage of The Mann Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday night. The British indie pop band’s set brought an ethereal chill to the warm May evening as they played an hour-plus set in Philadelphia’s outdoor Fairmount Park venue.
Making their first stop in Philadelphia since 2013, The xx are touring in support of their third record, I See You. The band opened with “Say Something Loving,” the second single from their most recent album, before launching into two tracks from their first album – “Crystalised” and “Islands.”
As the night progressed The xx played from each of their three albums, ranging from the quiet “VCR” to the emotional “Performance.” The band’s colorful lighting scheme helped to paint an appropriate ambiance around their music, which is built on electronic dream pop and the soothing vocal duo of bassist Oliver Sim and guitar player Romy Croft. DJ Jamie xx rotated between his elaborate turntable, percussion, and keyboard setup.
The xx saved the best moments for last as they revved up the crowd with “Loud Places,” the second single from Jamie xx’s 2015 solo album, before heading backstage for the encore. After a brief pause, Jamie xx came to the stage for a brief DJ set while Sim and Croft returned. The band began the encore with “On Hold” then slid into their breakthrough instrumental track “Intro.” After thanking the audience, The xx closed out the set with a beautiful rendition of “Angels.”
Opener Sampha set the tone for the evening. A great choice as an opener for The xx, Sampha played for approximately 45 minutes as he and his band played a blend of electronic music that had a more pronounced R&B vibe than The headliner’s own work. His well-received set included an impassioned performance of “Timmy’s Prayer” and the intimate “(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano.”
Sampha will be returning to Philadelphia later this year as a part of the Made In America Festival. An impressive artist of a similar, yet different mold than the xx, he is clearly a rising star with impressive gifts as a live artist. The xx’s lengthy I See You tour includes stops at the Glastonbury Festival, Primavera Sound, and Lollapalooza as their continue their ascent as one of the world’s premiere bands.