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The XX sexes up Central Park's Summer Stage

Exactly one year ago The XX was just one of many acts making their way through the revolving door of hopeful young bands at The Mercury Lounge, the LES launching pad for names like Joan Jett, Lou Reed, Interpol, Radiohead, Broken Social Scene, and more recently, Lady Gaga. The XX can now officially add their name to the list of success stories; The 3-piece British electro-pop group has become something of a sensation in the last year, and this past Sunday’s concert at Central Park’s Summer Stage was a one-year anniversary worth celebrating.

As gates opened the line staggered back as far as 14 blocks. Most of those vying for a spot at the free show (opened by Jack Penate and Chairlift) were turned away and had to content themselves with what they could hear from outside. But the people who arrived early to the line were rewarded with a record-ready performance from The XX, starting with “Intro” and running through most of the songs from their self-titled debut album.

But it wasn’t just a straight run-through. They were clearly having some fun experimenting with timing: some songs got slowed down in parts for dramatic effect while others got a brand new beat from a downstage drum set Jamie Smith would occasionally descend upon from his control station behind bandmates Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft. As a live act they proved they don’t have have to rely on the kind of post-production effects many electro act do. Croft and Sim’s vocals are just as breathy and sexy as they are on the album. In fact, as soon as the band – clad head-to-toe in black – came on stage started playing the first pulsing beats of their set, the night took a heady turn. If their sound is this sophisticated now, at age 21, it’s going to be a very exciting thing to watch as they get older.