Photos by Maddie Schroeder
Hundreds of fans gathered in the Templeton-Blackburn Memorial Auditorium on Monday night to see alternative rock band X Ambassadors. The group gained popularity with their single “Renegades” in late 2015, and “Unsteady” is currently on the Top 40 charts.
Rock group Northern Faces was successful at getting a seated crowd off their feet as an opening act. After Northern Faces’ 30-minute set, fans briefly filtered out to grab a beer or two as they anxiously awaited XA. Like the moments leading up to any artist’s stage appearance, an eager energy-filled ambiance filled Memorial Auditorium. Once XA appeared, the crowd was invited to follow the group of four into the “Jungle.”
When the band played “Fear,” frontman Sam Harris mentioned it was co-written with Imagine Dragons, which excited the room.
“You know them?” Harris asked. The audience cheered. Imagine Dragons are featured on the album version of the track.
X Ambassadors have Imagine Dragons to thank for their recent success. Imagine Dragons’ frontman Dan Reynolds heard an acoustic version of XA’s “Unconsolable” while he was sick in the hospital and immediately wanted to sign the band.
A highly energetic Harris incessantly kept the crowd engaged as he danced across the stage, pumped out some soul on the saxophone for added jazz effects, and sang at extremely high octaves, which fans commended him for. He also addressed them frequently throughout the show.
As a lead-up to the song “Gorgeous,” Harris asked for light to be shone on the audience so he could see them.
“You are so good-looking, every last one of you,” he said. “Can I tell you something, Ohio? You make me feel gorgeous.”
While still keeping the crowd excited, XA calmed them down with “Unsteady,” to which everyone sang in unison.
Following “Unsteady,” XA closed with “Renegades,” before their single-song encore. Harris really stressed the importance and beauty of diversity, as a “renegade” is someone who defies the norms.
The band’s encore track was “Unconsolable.” Harris introduced the band members and sincerely thanked the room for being there. Concluding the show, a delighted crowd showed appreciation for the band’s hour-long set.
XA put on a genuine and enthusiastic performance, and the members were naturally into their own music. As people filtered out of Memorial Auditorium for the evening, chatter about how much they enjoyed the show was everywhere.