Night + Day – The XX
“Is it meant to be?”, Romy croons. The rain has stopped and the clouds have cast a premature darkness on The XX’s Night + Day festival at Hatfield House. So yes Romy, it most certainly does seem like it was meant to be.
Throughout the day, the crowd has seen the likes of Kindness, Polica, Mount Kimbie and Solange, yet with a hiss of smoke concealing the XX’s arrival on stage, you realise that this festival is all about them. From the location, to the support acts and food stalls, The XX have more than curated Night + Day festival, they have orchestrated it, tailoring it to their tastes.
The XX are considered widely to be a very intimate band, some critics believing that this is lost during their live shows, yet as purple light descends and envelopes the crowd, it seems that the band become one with the crowd, pulsing together through their tracks. Numerous times Romy and Oliver come together in an almost trance like state, bobbing close, shutting out what surrounds them. Crafting their way through ‘Sunset’ and ‘Crystalised’, ‘Fiction’ stimulates a welcoming cheer from the crowd and catalyses a new level of energy, while ‘Reunion’ is greeted with a more silent appreciation.
Having left the stage, the band re-emerge for a three song encore. As the sparse scales of ‘Intro’, the first song from their eponymous debut album, combine with Jamie’s persuasive percussion, we are gently lead into ‘Together’. Written for the recent film incarnation of ‘The Great Gatsby’, its debut affirms its live credentials. With a sing-a-long chorus and a massed string section, it could almost be viewed as an ‘epic’.
The progression from day to night culminates with ‘Angels’, and as “the end is unknown” is breathed out over the grounds of Hatfield House, the future of Night + Day festival is beguiling. Whatever is in store, you can be sure that it will be beautiful, dark and more personal than ever.