After a closing night set at Coachella earlier this year, Jamie xx brought an experience to the Hollywood Bowl this past Friday night that uniquely made the audience a part of the show. Without uttering a single word, he let the music speak for itself as fans followed the rhythm of the music like a cult under a spell.
Words: David Sosa
The night began with openers Arushi Jain and Caribou, who complimented the sound Jamie would cultivate to another level later. Caribou, in particular, featured a live band that kept it cool with more mellow moments and turned up the energy during more abrasive ones. Nothing felt out of order, as the simple, yet very effective geometrics and colors splashed on the LED wall made the performance all the more thrilling while more and more people took their place.
Right from the jump, the show began modestly with flashing lights backlighting Jamie in angelic allure. An overhead camera aimed at the crowd below then accompanied the stage, starting the show’s most fascinating inclusion of live footage being broadcasted back for the audience to see.
As the music started to pick up, so did the audience’s energy when cameras directed the crowd to dancers treating the stairs of the Hollywood Bowl like their dance floor. It was hard not to follow their lead. Admittedly it took a while for everyone to realize the dancers were a part of the show and that they would not get their kiss-cam moment on the screens. A voice would later remind the audience that the dancers are supposed to represent them. “Look at that dancer. That’s you. No, that’s us,” the voice echoed. By that time, no one dared to stay seated.
The show reached another high point when another seamless transition led to Jamie’s 2020 single “Idontknow,” who put an exciting spin on the song by mashing it up with Ludacris’ Y2K classic “What’s Your Fantasy?” The combination was too clean to be accidental, as the audience willingly followed wherever Jamie would take them next.
Overall, the music, whether his own or someone else’s, matched the vibe of the Jamie xx brand all too well. It’s the kind of aesthetic that can simultaneously be played at the most prestigious European runway and the most underground rave.
“Loud Places” made for a fitting climax to the concert and Jamie’s career, even going as far as to bring out fellow bandmate Romy Madley Croft in a powerful two-thirds The xx reunion. While felt, Oliver Sim’s absence from the show is made up by the fact that he too has moved on to new creative endeavors with his solo debut releasing the same month. And it didn’t prevent the performance from being a pivotal moment for Romy and Jamie, as evident by the two embracing each other in a way that proved they’re able to keep the band together.
There’s no telling where Jamie will go from here. Without having dropped a solo effort since 2015, he seems to only be growing in popularity. But every time he performs, the main attraction is always the rave that spans the venue like a rainbow to an equally diverse audience. The lights similarly exploded into a supernova, with every color on the spectrum visible all at once during closers “Gosh” and “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times).” Simultaneously able to incite a riot while inspiring universal bliss, the song ended the show as an unassuming Jamie walked off with a simple wave.