Concert Review: XYLO

Rating: B+
Date: Apr. 9
Location: The Loft

XYLO’s SoundCloud account is deceiving. Listening to tracks before the concert to get in the groove? There’s not much you can do to anticipate how Paige Duddy’s soft vocals and her brother’s slow, rhythmic “tropical house” beats — reflective of Kygo — could possibly echo off a shrilling set, fusing sharp metallic guitar chords with thunderous drums. All of this happens as the lights shock the room in color schemes unique to each song. But the jocund-yet-thrilling experience can only be attributed to Duddy’s own energy. Her exchanges with the guitarist, a clear conversation where the two seemed to push each other into ecstasy, emanated straight through to the audience. Diligently supported by the percussionist and her brother Chase’s turntables, Duddy held nothing back when she engaged with the audience, maintaining eye contact and swaying as if she were part of the crowd.

Although the show was grungy and, arguably, a rock concert by most standards, the duo created an intimate atmosphere through Duddy’s bold interactions with the audience and universal lyrical themes. Most of the set is based on the duo’s personal experiences and, according to Paige, “Every song is a journey through our personalities and who we are.” Indeed they are, as the lyrics unveil the modern-day struggle of finding intimacy in a fast-paced world where we “just wanna be loved” (L.A. Love Song) but can never be sure if something is “Silver or White Gold.”  Additionally, there is a constant discussion of how “we’re living on automatic” (BLK CLD) and are aware of it but the immediate solution to how a “heart is like a cool box” is “a lite beer” (L.A. Love Song).  

While the set was exciting, the sheer volume of the music unfortunately overpowered Duddy’s quieter sound and emotional message. Indeed, the raging guitar trills at times resulted in an exhausting noise rather than sound, particularly in songs where the lyrics constitute a repetition of the same few lines like in “Bang Bang.” However, this is was a minor technical flaw, as the musicians’ synchronicity kept the audience transfixed. Furthermore, they incorporated elements of EDM through smooth buildups and consistent, clear drops. Chase Duddy amped up the percussion but managed to enhance it by restraining the sound to the background through reverbs. Beats are dispersed throughout each song but silenced to let Paige solo during more bittersweet songs like “America.” Indeed, Paige depends on them to maintain the somber, raw character of lyrics alive amid the roaring percussion. Though the live performance was definitely more high-intensity than their EP, their low-key mesh of strong beats and powerful lyrics relay an energizing yet honest reality.