The line for the highly ballyhooed buzz band of this year’s CMJ festival, The xx, at the Mercury Lounge, wrapped around the corner of Houston and Ludlow on Wednesday night. At one point the door minders only allowed badge-holders and guestlisters entry, much to the dismay of hopeful attendees who had waited on line for over an hour. Singer/bassist Oliver Sim confessed needing to up his banter as the show seemed quiet and dark, to which members of the audience agreed, but lapped it all up anyway. Though not much chit-chatting was going down, the capacity crowd was treated to some bluesy love songs, sung between the throaty vocals of guitarist Romy Madley Croft and bassist Sim that lived up to the hype that preceded the young band from London.


Next up was a trek on the F line to Brooklyn’s Bell House for the upbeat, punchy pop sounds of London’s Let’s Wrestle. With their influences clearly recognizable in American garage rock, a hint of quirky Britpop via Blur circa Parklife/Great Escape was also palpable. Unlike The xx, there was plenty of banter between the bandmates and the crowd, as the likeable lads of Let’s Wrestle put on their best American accents, stating “this is whack!” while apologizing for technical difficulties, tuning problems, and broken guitar strings.



Final performers of the night were Reading, England’s Pete & the Pirates. The guys put on a rollicking, head-bobbing performance for a crowd filled with giggling women (not girls) and all around easy-going punters. Too much information was shared when singer Tommy Sanders relayed stories of his body sweat, leading guitarist Peter Hefferan to clarify the matter on said odor. No matter, I’m sure there were plenty of ladies and lads willing to deal with it. The night ended too soon, as the crowd shouted for more, but alas given only one encore, two songs. Guess that would just have to do. Look out for this band. You’ll hear from these raconteurs again. –Words and photos by Tear-n Tan