X Ambassadors excites and surprises
The Gosman Sports and Convocation Center was packed to the brim this past weekend, with the up-and-coming X Ambassadors performing live in front of a rowdy crowd of Brandeisian students. X Ambassadors, led by vocalist Sam Harris, is best known for their top-10 Billboard songs from their 2015 album, “VHS,” which has sold over 500,000 copies to date. Their lineup of hit songs, including “Unsteady,” “Renegades” and “Jungle,” has vaulted the band to national fame, helping them reach a peak position of No. 7 in the U.S. Billboard 200 weekly charts, in recent years.
With the X Ambassadors’ fame in mind, Brandeisians were eager to get their hands on tickets for the band’s Fall Flex performance, this past Saturday night. Tickets cost only $15 and were heavily subsidized by the University and the Campus Activities Board, which allowed the student population the chance to see a high-quality performer without the usual expense of concert tickets.
The band’s opening act, Great Good Fine OK performed for a light crowd of students, who came in early for the band’s 8 p.m. opener. By 9 p.m. the crowd ballooned to fill nearly half the gym. Students shuffled in to get to the front row for the main performance.
Though the X Ambassadors were scheduled to perform at 9 p.m., the band got off to a slightly late start with Great Good Fine OK ending a few minutes past schedule. Despite the delay, the band walked onto stage with the crowd primed for their performance.
The band hit the ground running, opening with their first hit song of the night, a high-energy pump-up song called “Jungle.” The crowd went wild for the song, which had helped jumpstart the band’s career. Harris then transitioned to another upbeat track, “Loveless,” from “VHS,” exposing the crowd to some of the band’s lesser-known works. X Ambassadors kept the old-school vibe going, performing “Hang On” from “VHS.”
The crowd then received a pleasant surprise, with Harris breaking out “Ahead of Myself,” one of their new singles, from their soon-to-be released 2017 album. The crowd started to get into the performance, clapping along with Harris and the other band members to the beat of the song. The band then jumped back to a “VHS” track, “Low Life,” recorded in studio with Jamie N Commons, who was also featured in “Jungle.”
The crowd was in for more surprises when Harris broke out the debut of “Don’t Stay,” a track not yet released from the 2017 album. Harris also brought out “Gorgeous,” kicking it back to “VHS” for another alternative rock vibe.
After these performances the crowd was itching for the band to crank out their two most famous songs, “Unsteady” and “Renegades,” and the band did not disappoint. Singing along with the crowd, Harris delivered his best performance of the night in “Unsteady,” sobering the mood set by the previous songs. Harris then sung to “Renegades” to finish the night on a high note; his powerful voice reverberated through the gym during his second-most popular track. The crowd was wild at this point, begging X Ambassadors to continue playing after the drop of the mic. Harris obliged, coming back on stage for an encore of “Joyful,” another unreleased track from the 2017 album and rocking the crowd for the 10th track of the night.
X Ambassadors left their mark on Brandeis and set the bar high for future Fall Flex and Spring Fest performers. With X Ambassadors’ powerful lyrics and crushing vocals, this performance will surely be hard to beat.