Concert Reviews

Show Review: Jamie xx at Wonder Ballroom

Jose Velazco / August 2, 2015
Jamie xx, Wonder Ballroom, All photographs José Velazco
Jamie xx, Wonder Ballroom, All photographs José Velazco

Jamie xx (aka Jamie Smith) recently visited Portland’s Wonder Ballroom to promote his new release In Colour. He was not alone. He brought Amsterdam’s Young Marco to give the audience a tour of rhythmic musings across a range of electronic genres.

Young Marco, Wonder Ballroom
Young Marco, Wonder Ballroom

Young Marco quietly put down his PBR and then began his set. Afro-beat drums subtly filled the cavernous room. Early arrivals were greeted a frigid room and the crowd’s gentle sway allowed for some relief from the chilly air. The music began its upward ascent to louder volume levels and lower bass notes. Young Marco delivered a soothing set of pulsating beats mixed with more international flavors. This made for a great segue for Jamie xx as the ballroom started to fill with more twenty somethings eager to catch a glimpse of The xx’s beat guru.

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Jamie xx selecting wax

Jamie xx’s, solo release In Colour is his latest effort. The record vacillates from electronic genre to genre, simultaneously groove oriented, danceable and epic. “Gosh” contains well placed loops and a sublime synth track that combine to create an immersive space for the listener. Audience members were treated to this same kind of experience as the low lit room changed colors from deep blues to intense reds.

Jamie xx spinning.
Jamie xx spinning.

The evening continued: stage lights blared yellow behind the turntables and a large mirrored ball created a disco-like atmosphere. Curious among these moments was the sea of those present and their lack all out dancing. Many fists pumped and plastic drink glasses raised ever so slightly, yet many chose the trappings of social media rather than the music filling their ears.

Young Marco and Jamie xx came to the Wonder Ballroom and performed well crafted mixes equally deserving of an all night 90s rave or an intimate night club. Bass notes swelled and samples created delicate textures for the capacity crowd. The music was always understated and seemed created specifically for the cool Portland night.

 

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