These days, when a musician talks about people loving and respecting each other, the comment practically qualifies as a political statement. That is what it felt like Wednesday night when The xx performed at the Santa Barbara Bowl. “Take care of yourself; take care of each other; have a great night,” bassist Oliver Sim beamed. More directly, Sim said there are 102 reasons to be upset. “I’d really love it if everyone left our show and enjoyed themselves.”
Fans, though, clearly did not have to go anywhere to enjoy themselves; they appeared more than jazzed to be there. The British indie group — Sim, Romy Madley Croft, and Jamie Smith (aka Jamie xx) — treated fans to its classics (“Crystalised,” “VCR,” “Islands”) while incorporating some of its newer work (“Say Something Loving,” “Lips,” “I Dare You”). All clad in all black, the trio also covered Justin Timberlake’s “My Love,” yet the song felt as if it were theirs. The group, playing Santa Barbara for the first time, dedicated the show to the Pacific Pride Foundation. Several fans waved rainbow pride flags, and a rainbow of lights lit up the stage, which filled with plumes of fog throughout the evening. A dollar from each ticket was donated to Pacific Pride.