Jamie xx Woodbine Park, Toronto ON, June 11
Published Jun 12, 2016As the first notes of "Loud Places" crept over the festival grounds, there was a decidedly laid-back tone in place from the outset. Almost immediately, it felt like the show was winding down. After that, Jamie xx kept things at a slow plod with some Eastern flute music, and though the crowd was enjoying it, judging by the murmurs percolating throughout, they were crying for the tempo to rise a few shades.
As he ran through "One Dance" by Drake — every foreign act seems to think it's their duty to drop a Drake track when on Canadian soil — some Caribbean flair and a few R&B cuts, things were looking fairly average. Thankfully, Jamie xx was moved to the Main Stage this year, a step up from his Bollywood slot last year, but the first half of his set simply didn't live up to the more prestigious setting.
Slowly, but surely, however, the UK producer brought things around. "Love is the Only Drug" by Ultra Nate marked a notable shift in atmosphere, which was then backed up by Florence and the Machine's rendition of "You've Got the Love." Though his Bestival show still remained as unpredictable as ever, from then on there was a definite shift in tone. He hopped from samba to '90s dance classics rapidly, which could go horribly wrong in the hands of many, but Jamie xx's obvious love for each track made it so much more than a random assortment of tunes. "I'll Take Care of U" from his under appreciated remix album of Gil Scott-Heron's I'm New Here was actually one of the most perfect moments of the entire day. While the apex in terms of tempo came later, this track from the late poet reigned supreme for Jamie xx's Bestival set.
All that was left to do after that was drop the absolute gem that is Nathan Fake's "The Sky Was Pink," before beautifully seguing into "Gosh." Unfortunately, this was cut short as some technical difficulties brought the show to a complete stop. It looked like we were to have the most unceremonious exit ever, as Jamie xx simply walked off the stage with his hands up. Fortunately, the problem got fixed and he returned to play the track, while adding heaps of delay onto it, just to show the crow that he was still with us. All in all, despite its mediocre beginnings, Jamie xx's show still came off as one of the most enjoyable performances of day one.