X Ambassadors concert brims with soul and passion

The alternative group performed Friday at Jesse Auditorium.

By Grant Sharples | April 9, 2016

Tags: Music

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Alternative soul rockers X Ambassadors put on a spectacle of a performance at Jesse Auditorium on Friday night. From the first pulsating rhythms of “Loveless,” fans knew that they were in for a treat.

The high energy was established right at the beginning of the set and lasted through the following 11 songs. Lead vocalist Sam Harris’ natural charisma was difficult not to love. Throughout the entire performance, Harris had the crowd in the palm of his hand, channeling his energy and passionate nature to the audience through his soulful voice and layered saxophone harmonies. There wasn’t a single song that fans couldn’t dance to.

Another highlight of their performance was the exceptional musicianship displayed by all four of the band members. Perhaps most notable was Casey Harris’ impressive keyboard skills. In between tracks, Harris would play arpeggiated chords with stunning dexterity and quickness. He demonstrated a wealth of knowledge for his instrument, proving himself to be a true virtuoso.

In addition to Harris’s magnificent piano performance, lead guitarist Noah Feldshuh’s solos, while scarce, were equally remarkable. Leading into “Jungle,” Feldshuh improvised a guitar solo with pitch shifter and distortion effects, an unexpected combination to hear at an indie rock show. Feldshuh and vocalist Sam Harris each took a turn soloing on the guitar to transition out of the song.

Harris and his brother, Sam Harris, were surely the most noteworthy members of the band. They conveyed their love of music to the audience through their raw emotion and stage presence. While Casey’s outstanding keyboard performance was an example of his passion in itself, the way he felt the music was truly genuine. He exemplified music in its rawest form, as if it were right at his fingertips. His playing was phenomenal, but it was how he felt the keyboard that was even more phenomenal. Casey has been blind since birth. Perhaps his ailment allows him to focus more on the music being made around him, and he simply doesn’t care about how he might look while expressing himself.

Sam exhibited the same kind of soul and passion of the band’s music. He was constantly dancing around the stage, occasionally making direct eye contact with audience members and singing to them. His energy and charisma were engaging. If a fan was at the back of the room, his charm and stage presence would make that fan feel as if they were in the front row.

X Ambassadors has a deep understanding of the music they make, and they succeeded in communicating that to the audience. They know how to engage their fans and make them feel like they are a vital element of the show.

Edited by Katherine Rosso | krosso@themaneater.com

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