Live Review: The xx, Flume

23 July 2012 | 1:31 pm | Helen Lear

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The Metro Theatre was packed to the gunnels when beat maker Harley Streten, aka Flume, took to the decks to spin his collection of original beats. The Sydneysider was visibly excited to be warming up for one of the hottest acts of the year and the crowd were ready and willing to get their party on right from the get go.

A sample of New Navy's Zimbabwe mixed with fat beats started things off, picking up the pace and gaining a more electro momentum through to a track that included mate Chet Faker's vocals, before finishing with the crowd jumping around with hands in the air as hip hop lyrics and furious beats took over.

No one dared leave the theatre in the interval for fear of not being able to squeeze back in and by the time The xx took to the stage, the venue was positively groaning with die-hard fans. Three figures dressed entirely in black skulked onto the stage as the crowd screamed their excitement.

Romy Madley Croft's beautifully haunting voice introduced new track, Angels, as a single white light lit her from behind in a magically ethereal spectacle. Islands followed, flowing smoothly into hit, Heart Skipped A Beat, with Oliver Sim's sultry vocals harmonising perfectly with hers and creating a spine-tingling moment.

To the backdrop of a psychedelic vision projected on the wall behind, more new tracks were well received as Jaime Smith (or Jaime xx as he's now better known) showed his incredible talent, silently moving around in the background between a wealth of different instruments. A Jaime xx-style up-tempo twist was given to Basic Space and Crystalised that really lifted both tracks.

What the band lacked in crowd interaction and expression they certainly made up for with a euphoric and dramatic use of lighting that pulsed with every beat and created a show that from start to finish was nothing short of captivating.

A few more new tracks made their first Australian outing including one that featured the band's trademark chilled-out start, which built into a bass-fuelled dancehall sound. A sneaky Jaime xx riff from I'll Take Care Of You made an appearance and gave the crowd hope of a quick solo track, but sadly not this time, as it merged into an instrumental breakdown, finishing off the set before the band departed the stage.

Intro was the perfect track to bring them back before Stars took hold with bass so fierce that the whole theatre rattled in time to searing lights projected from behind. An absolutely captivating performance every second of which the eager crowd relished.