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late March, the xx, a band that ordinarily appears at ten-thousand-seat arenas, played a ten-night “residency” at the Park Avenue Armory, performing for just a few dozen people at a time.Open to the public for fifty-five dollars a ticket, the shows also drew the musicians Beyoncé, Jay Z, and Madonna, as well as the filmmakers Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach.

The mood of almost uncomfortable intimacy seemed to prevent performers and audience from acknowledging one another; the band didn’t speak a word between songs, and the spectators didn’t applaud.The mood persisted even when, halfway through the show, Madley Croft sang, “Can I make it better / with the lights turned on?,” and the fabric walls dropped away, revealing the Armory’s vast drill hall, an acre of stone and arching steel struts.Finally, in the last song, she crooned, “Did I hold you too tight? ” The room went completely dark, and when the lights came up, the audience, as if startled out of a daze, broke into loud applause.After one performance, Kanye West told the band that it had reminded him of Steve Jobs, who “took something as big as the computer and put it in a cell phone.”The members of the xx were barely out of their teens when, in 2009, they released their first album, “xx,” a collection of muted love laments written mostly in their childhood bedrooms.

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