The night was marred by an equally unexpected disappointment, though: Swedish Quaalude-calypso duo jj's set at the Bijou captivated some but seemed to leave many more cold, as the "mysterious" group's singer stood center stage sipping on a beer and singing karaoke to full backing tracks while largely anonymous video footage played above her. (Her partner in crime hung back in the shadows for the most part; I am going to be charitable and assume he was at least the one pressing Play before each track. At one point he came out and seemed to be playing guitar along with one track, but the guitar coming over the speakers didn't seem to mind when he took the occasional breather from bothering to mime strumming.) The advantage, of course, is that the breezy, foggy pop itself came across just like it does on the record, and no one will deny the singer is tremendously talented. But after watching opener Nosaj Thing tear the room apart as just one dude standing at a bank of electronics -- think an ultra-crunk Four Tet -- the undeniable laziness of jj's show was hard to swallow. And it didn't help that headliners the xx (in a faithful, if slightly bloodless, runthrough of their stellar self-titled LP) put on what should pretty easily be the "spectacle" show of the entire fest, treating a packed-to-the-gills Bijou to one of the most impressive light shows I've ever seen.
One other minor disappointment: the Big Ears folks seem to have gone out of their way to program serious party music late at night, and I had hoped to see a lot of people shaking that ass @ DJ /rupture's set in the wee hours of the morning; though he certainly had the crowd captivated, the mood was much more head-bobbing than rug-cutting. (OK, there were a few dudes awkwardly dancing their little hearts out.) Hopefully Saturday's Javelin / Gang Gang Dance show will fare better...if people can figure out how to pace themselves all day. (Myself very much included.)
(sorry this is posting so late, been having trouble with el blog)