Let me just say, I had high hopes for this who just because this was a reschedule from last years show that was canceled because of a bitch named Sandy. Hurricane Sandy. Also, because it was postponed until this date, it means I would be attending the first date of a tour, which is almost always a great show.
One thing, was that the original show was meant to be played with Chairlift, a band that I did want to see. However, since this was a completely different tour, the opening band changed to Austra.
I had never heard Austra, besides for “Lose it,” which I only heard because I saw that awful movie “For a Good Time, Call…” and it was awkwardly in one of the scenes (which didn’t make any sense at all, honestly.) It’s a good song, catchy, and probably appeals to a lot of indie fans.
When I walked into the Hammerstein Ballroom, what really struck me was how freaking small the place was. I mean, not tiny by any means, but smaller than almost 80% of the venues I had been to before. The xx is also a rather popular band, so it really surprised me that they chose such a small venue considering their success.
Austra came on with a lackluster appearance, not saying much during their entire set. Seriously, there was little to no crowd acknowledgment, and it was disappointing to say the least. At first, not knowing they are actually from Toronto, I thought they were maybe from a foreign country and didn’t speak english very well. That’s how little they spoke. The one conversation I remember is the lead singer going “I have a problem.” One of her bandmates saying “What is your problem?” and her replying with “Nothing.” Her problem was that the fly on her jeans would not stay up, and the whole ballroom knew it. Also, I wish someone could make sense to me the two female back up singers that literally sang no more than 10 notes the whole night, and spent the rest of their time up on stage doing strange interpretive dancing. I know i’m being harsh, but I’ve seen a lot of artists and band live, and this was among one of the most disappointing. Would it kill to have a little stage presence? Even people in the crowd were yelling things like “I love you!” and they had no response, though everyone heard it.
Shortly after their poor set, the xx came on. Usually, or at least in my experience, when a headliner comes on, the crowd starts pushing like crazy towards the front. Mind you, I was up against the barricade, so I was praying that wouldn’t happen. It didn’t. Probably one of the most calm and collected crowds that i’d ever come across. The xx opened with a cool video clip projected onto a white fabric, and then went on to play Angels. They opened with Angels! To say I wasn’t surprised would be an understatement, because usually bands hold their most popular song off of the album tour until the very end or nearing so. I don’t remember the exact set list, but they did a good amount off of the first album, with songs such as “Shelter”, “Islands”, and the obvious “Crystalised.” They got an amazing applause by the end of their set, which was well-deserved, as they even played a song that had never been performed before. It’s always special when a band does that, because then everyone in that venue feels like they really matter to the band. During the long applause, Romy and Oliver both looked so flattered and maybe even slightly embarrassed because of how long it went on. Jamie got the spotlight a couple of times too; totally deserving.
In conclusion, i’d see the xx again if I was given the chance. Austra, however, needs to step up their game if they expect better ticket sales.