While they wowed us once again this summer at Bonnaroo, with a breathtaking main stage set in support of their fantastic, long-awaited recent third full-length, beloved English indie pop trio The xx haven’t properly played Nashville since their one and only Music City outing nearly four years ago. That all changes tonight, Oct. 4 when the band return to headline Ascend Amphitheater, along with buzzy indie singer Perfume Genius, a venue uniquely suited to helped recreate the magic and ambience The xx always manage to bring to festival settings. Tickets are still available here while they last, so secure your spot and read on for more about this stellar lineup!
Formed initially as a duo of singer/guitarist Romy Madley Croft and bassist/singer Oliver Sim while still in high school in London, soon expanding to include programming/production wizard Jamie Smith and keyboard player/guitarist Baria Qureshi (who would depart after the group’s first album), The xx erupted onto the scene with their phenomenal self-titled 2009 debut, and have remained one of the most celebrated bands in the indie rock world ever since. Thanks to the production expertise of Smith (who released his own solo debut as Jamie xx in 2015), and their eclectic penchant for drawing from r&b, soul, hip hop, and post-punk to inform their dreamy, electronic-laced indie pop, the band’s unique and atmospheric sound has brought them crossover success, and bagged countless high-profile placements, earned them numerous festival spots, global touring opportunities, and nearly unanimous critical praise. 2012’s Coexist largely expanded on their debut, incorporating more DJ and club music elements, as opposed to the more introspective and haunting tones of xx, and honed their poppy, rock meets electronic formula to equal praise. After a bit of a break, and influenced by Jamie’s solo effort, the band returned earlier this year with I See You, their most energetic and expansive album to date. After a breathtaking performance this summer at Bonnaroo, we’re beyond thrilled to see The xx return to Nashville proper, new music in tow, for a performance that should be absolutely stunning in Ascend’s picturesque downtown, outdoor setting.
The musical vehicle of Seattle artist Mike Hadreas, Perfume Genius began with a MySpace profile in 2008 and a debut album in 2010, but despite some warm early reception, didn’t really break through in a major way until 2014 third album Too Bright, a masterful, pop-drenched, deeply personal effort universally hailed by critics and fans alike. Raised in the suburbs, Hadreas, openly gay since his school days, facing bullying and abuse, eventually relocated to New York before returning to Seattle to launch his music career. Informed by the experiences of his upbringing, health struggles, and, later, even addiction, Mike developed a sound and style unafraid to explore personal demons and present himself in a raw, dark, honest, or even damaged way, openly navigating and owning his sexuality in song more directly than many queer artists often do. On his latest, the brand new No Shape, Hadreas, now clean and healthy and in a good relationship, teamed up with producer Blake Mills, best known for working with rootsier and folkier outfits like Bright Eyes and Alabama Shakes, to take in a broader swath of rock and indie pop and string-laden baroque, fueled with his typical r&b, art rock, and soul, finding catharsis in his most affirming and adventurous album to date. An inspiring and brilliant artist, with a sound and perspective unlike any other, there’s never been a better time to catch Perfume Genius’s enthralling and breathtaking live show in person, and no better musical compliment to The xx.
The xx and Perfume Genius will perform tonight, Oct. 4 at Ascend Amphitheater. The show is all ages, begins at 8 p.m., and tickets are available to purchase for $20-46.