The electronic rock trio’s strong connection to South London is no secret and not at all surprising given their genesis. What started in a bedroom in South West London blossomed - and keeps growing - into something special, which is evident in both their records and live shows.
When they made their studio debut with their album xx in 2009, they redefined ideas of teenage desire and anxiety. Three years later, they showcased a completely different perspective with the sophomore album, Coexist. The latest release, I See You is their most mature yet and a fantastic testament to the development of three incredible individuals.
The xx's highly acclaimed Night + Day series was launched in 2013 as an artistically led set of creative collaborations, which is exactly what they showcased with their Brixton takeover. So let’s delve into the details of Night + Day, shall we?
It's been a lot of planning and work + we are in disbelief it's finally here but we couldn't be more excited. Please enjoy!! xx The xx
— The xx (@The_xx) March 8, 2017
Kicking off the residency with support from Sampha and Joy Orbison gave way to a string of phenomenal shows. As they broke the ice with their shimmering new single ‘Say Something Loving’, the venue transformed into a sensory tank of whimsical lighting, sweet musical notes and the scent of smoke machines.
The unique staging that was seen throughout the series added an element of theatre to The xx’s homecoming. Encompassed within a set defining the visual aspects of the I See You album cover, an elevated Jamie xx played the master puppeteer over the sell-out crowds. The hydraulic mirrored ceiling and rotational mirrored pillars brought the album to life visually. The set was further enhanced by the deluge of rainbow lighting throughout, which brought Jamie xx’s signature track ‘Loud Places’ to life.
Wow! Another incredible night at Night + Day Brixton, we're speechless at all of the support so far, it means so much to us...
— The xx (@The_xx) March 11, 2017
Spread across the seven nights were various fantastic performances by the likes of Kelela, Swedish superhero songstress, Robyn and Francis & The Lights. Not to mention a moving piano session by Jehn Beth of Savages, a performance by the London Contemporary Orchestra and a set with Cat Power.
The Night + Day series wouldn’t be complete without the DJ sets from Ben UFO, Benji B, SIRENS, Daniel Brandt, Gilles Peterson and Floating Points.
A large part of the series hinged on creative collaborations and this definitely wasn’t in short supply throughout. Singer-songwriter, Robyn, known for hits like ‘Dancing On My Own’ came out to perform on ‘With Every Heartbeat’. The xx also invited Jehn Beth of Savages out to sing ‘Infinity’ with them on night five and the grand finale saw Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine out on stage for ‘You’ve Got The Love’.
Yesterday was so important to us, as the academy is a venue we grew up going to and a place we’ve seen so many of our favourite acts play.
— The xx (@The_xx) March 9, 2017
Of course, the spotlight was always going to be on The xx themselves and as they returned to O2 Academy Brixton for the first time since 2012 and proved they are more than capable of playing an eight-night run.
Playing all the favourites, including ‘I Dare You’ and ‘Dangerous’, the band finished a 17-song set with an encore of ‘On Hold’, ‘Angels’ and their instrumental ‘Intro’.
Over the last few days, we've met so many amazing people involved in community projects that are so important to Brixton.
— The xx (@The_xx) March 12, 2017
The Night + Day series itself was heavily driven by the charities the band are passionate about. The xx worked alongside Artist Pledge, who collected donations through ticket sales with all the proceeds going to local charities. Included in the initiative, was Hustlebucks, a local design team, who created VR footage of the band at work. Such is their depth of understanding and commitment to incorporating the local community as part of the experience, the pop up merchandise stand itself was designed by local youth enterprises.
The fifth day of the series saw Jamie xx’s truly spectacular all-dayer, which comprised of a beautiful six-hour show. All proceeds from the day were donated to local charity consortiums. His set was streamed live on Reprezent Radio, who the band had worked closely with throughout.
Every single night has been special. We wanted to thank each and everyone involved with the running of this project,
— The xx (@The_xx) March 16, 2017
Such is the magic and aura of Night + Day, it was witnessed by a number of special guests, including another headliner at O2 Academy Brixton, Emeli Sandé, mayor of London Sadiq Khan, supermodel Erin O’Connor and The Walking Dead’s Alanna Masterson (Tara) and Austin Amelio (Dwight).
After all the success, it’s hard to believe that Night + Day started as an experiment. The xx started out by wanting to create something that ran deeper than just the music and, by using the evidence of their residency here in Brixton, we’re sure you’ll agree, it’s a job well done. The only question we have now is… when can we do it all again?
We want to know what your favourite bit was. Let us know by commenting below. To see more images from the event, go to our gallery here.