May 09, 2017
X Ambassadors Gets Crowd Celebrating
The X Ambassadors have four members. But on Sunday night, the group almost added a fifth.
With the sun setting on Day Five, the JetBlue headliners made its way onto the stage.
Lead singer, Sam Harris stood, looking out into the crowd. “I think I found our third brother, Casey,” he said. His brother, Casey, is the group’s keyboardist. “My doppelganger. How handsome. What kind of product are you using in your beard?”
It’s not like the group needed another member though. Within its first song, Sam sang, played two guitars and a saxophone. Over achiever.
With the sun setting, on a cool, pastel purple-grey sky, and the moon just starting to peek out, the X Ambassadors performed songs like “Jungle” and “Loveless.”
But the band was definitely far from loveless. In fact, there was even a prom-posal.
“I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it, but I’m saying yes,” Sam told the high school senior. “I don’t know if they’ll let me into prom. I look 40. It’s OK. We’ll figure it out.”
Live, the alternative rock group incorporated some southern charm elements (think Black Keys-style) into its set. Harris also pulled a Freddie Mercury, whipping out his falsetto and riffing all over multiple songs.
X Ambassadors came onto the scene in 2009, hailing from Ithaca, New York. The four piece consists of the Harris brothers, Noah Feldshuh on guitar and Adam Levin on drums.
As the group played “Love Song Drug Songs,” Sam picked up his sax again and lifted it into the air over his head. The fog machines poured steam behind the purple-glowing stage. Not many people can make a saxophone feel normal in pop-rock without it crossing the line into ska. But Sam pulls it off.
The crowd of people, waving their JetBlue lights was wonderfully unpredictable. From parents with their kids on their shoulders, to teenagers and young adults. It was a total mixed bag of die-hard fans and others who knew the band from what they’ve heard on the radio.
A testament to that was during what I would call one of the most moving moments of the night. Keyboardist Casey dove into an unbelievably moving piano solo, taking the chorus of the band’s song, “Unsteady,” and turning it into a classical-style ballad. At points, he’d weave in these intricate jazz riffs that proved he was far from being a one-trick pony.
When the 2015 Billboard hit actually kicked in, all Sam had to sing was the leading in “hold on,” before the entire crowd took over for him. From there, thousands sang the entire chorus in unity, a Capella. And it was mystical.
X Ambassadors only kept cranking out the hits from there.
“To all my low lifes here tonight,” Sam said to a cheering crowd. They already knew where this was going. “This ones for you.”
A bright, white, almost perfectly full moon cast an additional spotlight over the JetBlue stage as the band wrapped things up.
“We’ve got one more song for you,” Sam said leading into “Renegades.” “It’s about celebrating what makes us unique, what we all are … No matter what you look like … or what you believe in.”
The vocalist continued, “you do not have to be afraid of who you are. Not here. Not tonight.”
Last night, no one was afraid.