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The xx live at the Armory in New York: On the scene

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There may not be many new tricks in the modern concert handbook (
not good ones, anyway) but it was hard not to feel like a part of something special last night at the xx show at New York’s Park Avenue Armory.

The British dream-pop trio’s run in the historic New York space certainly defies typical rock-show math: 11 nights, each with two 50-minute performances for an audience of no more than 40 people, in a room so enormous (the main hall is 55,000 square feet) that it looks scaled to aircraft carriers, not humans.

In fact, the actual performance space was surprisingly small—at least at first. After being ushered in through a side door into a cramped basement room, the evening’s forty golden-ticket holders were led like obedient hostages through a winding series of sheetrock-dusted corridors and into a modest square that looked like the war room of a Bond villain, with its rubberized floor and black-clad minions. The minions, of course, were the band: Identically poker-faced, angularly coiffed, and completely silent as the audience filed in and were instructed to stand around the perimeter.

“Should we all take our clothes off now?” A friend leaned over and whispered. And it did have a little bit of a Wicker Man-meets-Eyes Wide Shut vibe, as if we were about to witness either a virgin sacrifice or a wild goat orgy. But then the first notes of music rang out: the spare, shimmering guitar line of the band’s 2012 single “Angels.” READ FULL STORY

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