For supposed minimalists, the xx have a lot going on.
Where most bands manage to make a fair bit of noise with guitar, bass and drums, the xx subverts the trinity. Romy Madley Croft delivers tantalising guitar hooks but does put it down, Oliver Sim's bass is often the lead instrument, and then there's whatever Jamie Smith does from his platform upstage as Oz the great and powerful: playing keys, samples, all manner of thunderous electronic percussion, DJ-ing and even deigning to bang an actual drum every now and then.
A lot of this was on display from the opening moments of Intro, a dreamlike instrumental work verging on trip hop which was by turns spookily sparse and invigoratingly rich. It's as good a way to start a show in 2018 as it was to launch the debut album that surprised the world in 2009.
The xx has another USP, too: Madley Croft and Sim are both lead singers. Crystalised was the first to showcase the dynamic, the tension as much between guitar and bass as man and woman. Fraught and personal, the duets essentially mine an offshoot of pop's oldest seam, the twisted love song. Arguably the pick of these on the night was I Dare You, which flirted with silence and heightened emotions, and Shelter, which has been given a lush update that surpasses the original.
Madley Croft delivered powerful moments alone with the guitar, none better than set closer Angels. Sim's best moment came on the intriguing Violent Noise, a lament about the perils of clubbing that's only a heartbeat away from a hedonistic rave anthem.
Much has been made of Smith's second career as Jamie xx, world-conquering dance artist, and his influence on the latest album I See You. It's hard to deny the impact, with a cover of his solo offering Loud Places morphing into a DJ set that was unapologetically euphoric.
But largely the effect was more evolution than revolution – slow and subtle is still the order of the day, with fans finding thrill in building to a beat that never quite drops. The songs creep up on you, and they are cohesive as a band while allowing each member moments to shine.
Sure, the xx are often downbeat and introspective. But minimalist? There's much more to them than that.
Michael Ruffles is a journalist and desk editor at the Sydney Morning Herald.