Being starstruck when seeing your favorite band is one thing. However, being close enough to your personal music gods that you could practically touch them is in a completely different universe of awesome. I can even say that undeniably will be one of the most intense and life-changing moments of your life. I would know. This was what happened to me this past Monday, July 23rd.
As we announced earlier this week, 98.7 set off their latest series of Hollywood Tower penthouse performances with a bang. These Thrillcall-sponsored small gatherings feature some of the biggest names in the alt-music world. The only way to snag tickets to one of these great shows/once-in-a-lifetime experiences is by winning them through Thrillcall or station giveaways, so I was off to join the jubilant winners for an afternoon straight out of my little indie-loving dreams.
The Hollywood Tower delivers a breathtaking view of Hollywood, including the iconic Hollywood sign. This was my first time at the Tower, so I was a little bit nervous when it was time to squeeze into the seemingly ancient elevator. Embarrassingly enough, I felt this way because of the famous Disney ride “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.” Fun fact: the ride was based off of this unique building. Being I am a huge Disney fan, part of me irrationally thought I would plummet to my death in the little coffin-esque elevator. Of course that didn’t happen, and I was able to go on my merry way. (And don’t worry. It won’t happen to you if you go. But come to think of it, a good portion 98.7fm staff did seem to swear by taking the stairs and only the stairs. Spooky, right?)
Once I made my way to the rooftop, there was a lovely Diabolo soda-sponsored bar that featured many creative cocktails that were sure to please any palate. There was also a full array of Mexican food, including a taco bar where the servers made delectable grub right in front of you. I was as happy as a clam. However, I was dying to see the xx — a group that definitely makes my “Top 5 All Time Favorite Bands” list. The suspense was killing me.
However, relief was in sight. I soon joined the masses of lucky winners, and we all filed into the second section of the rooftop “venue” where the xx was about to perform.
Just in case you weren’t aware, the xx is a soft-electro-pop band from South West London that took the music world by storm after they released their intimate and masterfully crafted self-titled album, xx, in 2009. The xx consists of three members: Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim, and Jamie Smith. After working together for years to create xx, the band took a short break to refocus, and three years later announced that they would be releasing their much-anticipated sophomore album Coexist on September 11th, 2012. Not only is this their first music release in years, but during the show, they announced that it was their first performance in the United States in over 2.5 years! Boy, did I feel honored.
I never in a million years thought I would have the chance to see any band, let alone one of my favorites, in such an intimate setting, so when they stepped on rooftop “stage,” I felt giddy. I had to stifle a squeal. The trio emerged from the historic tower looking chic and utterly fabulous in their signature completely black garb. Although the audience was feeling hot in the California summer sun, the band must have taken some of their homeland’s weather with them, because they looked as calm and cool as their musical style.
While anxiously awaiting their performance, I was able to finagle my way into a spot right in front of the lovely Romy. I was so close to the band that I could feasibly take two steps forward and rope them into one big group hug (although I wouldn’t because surprisingly enough I am not that crazy).
Apparently, the xx was just as overwhelmed by this experience as we were. At one point, Oliver took a second to look out at the audience and comment that it was unusual to actually see people’s faces due to the lack of smoke and lights. You know, and the fact that we were right up in their faces.
I have never seen the xx live and was so happy to hear the way their soothing voices and soft music combine in person with just the same precision as when they are recorded. Their calming and unique musical style melded perfectly with their beautifully personal lyrics.
The short but sweet set ended with their new single, “Angels.” To be perfectly honest, the song was so dreamy and the lyrics were just so lovely and relatable that I had to fight off the tear that was forming in the corner of my eye. I had already been obsessively listening to the track, but hearing it live was an unbelievable experience.
I am used to immersing myself in the energy of a living, breathing crowd. One of my favorite feelings is when a group of people becomes an amoeba of jubilant emotion thanks to a shared love of music. However, this time the crowd’s energy and the band’s energy connected in a way that I have never felt before. I don’t know if it was the fact that I was standing front-row-center, or that I was so emotionally connected to the band for years, but I was able to vibe off the xx in a way that was completely foreign but so delightful. I was beyond grateful that I was able to go through this emotional journey not just with the crowd, but with the band itself.
I wish that the performance could have lasted longer. I was relatively surprised they didn’t play their brilliant single “Crystallized,” and I was secretly bummed that my favorite track “Stars” didn’t make it in the show. However, that is just another excuse for me to have to see them again. We all need something to look forward to, don’t we?
The event was one that I will never forget. I don’t know how many chances are out there for me to see one of my top music artists of all time in such an intimate setting, and I will cherish Monday’s experience forever.
Want your own chance to experience the same once-in-a-lifetime event? Download the Thrillcall app so that you can have your moment out of your fandom dreams as well!
And keep up with the most up-to-date information about the band on the xx’s official website.