Live Review: X Ambassadors in Indianapolis

After touring from one coast to another, New York natives X Ambassadors ended the first leg of their tour at the Egyptian Room in Indianapolis last Sunday. The last time they hit Indy, they sold out the Deluxe and rocked the packed room. X didn’t disappoint this time and armed with a more advanced stage setup and the resolve to make it a night to remember, they finished their VHS 2.0 Tour with a bang.

Savoir Adore brought their melty, smooth vibes to the stage, and although their music isn’t all that danceable, Indy was very receptive. Male-female duets are sometimes difficult to pull off without seeming cheesy, but these guys have it down to a science.

Next up was Seinabo Sey, who came all the way from Sweden to see us. Despite nearly everyone pronouncing her name incorrectly, the audience was definitely amped up for her set. She claimed to be a “better singer than talker,” but everyone was very interesting to hear about the stories behind her pejorative lyrics. For arguably her most popular song, “Younger,” she was joined by lead vocalist for X Ambassadors, Sam Harris. The artistic chemistry between the two was palpable, and made for an intense experience.

After waiting all day in the raid, fans were more than ready for the main act by the time they came out. When Sam Harris led his brother and keyboardist Casey on stage, hearts were warmed and hands raised into the air. While the two siblings tend to almost steal the show on bigger stages, the whole group is exquisitely talented—did I mention only ¾ of the members can see? X Ambassadors is somehow able to cross an intimate, feel-good show with a full-out alt rock concert, making the best of both worlds into a great night to be in Indy.

Sam Harris is never one to disappoint, and he’s probably in better shape than most athletes. He runs, jumps, gestures, and dances all over the stage without getting out of breath—all while belting and managing to hit notes higher than many females can muster. His addresses to the audience seemed as though they were likely said at every show on the tour, but they were delivered with such genuine emotion that no one seemed to care. It’s probably hard to come up with new material when you’ve been living on a bus and adjusting to being nocturnal for a month.

Keyboardist Casey Harris, who has been blind since birth, is a source of many strong emotions when he performs. It’s so empowering to see anyone summit a disability, but to see someone embrace it, do a kick ass job with it, and have fun with it is somewhat enlightening. His style of playing, which consists of dramatic movements and energetic dancing, is utterly enthralling to watch, if for no other reason than that he just doesn’t care about anything but the music. It’s beautiful, and more people should see it.

X Ambassadors is just one of those bands you have to see live. Their records and sales are solid, but there’s a totally new energy they bring to the tracks when they get on stage. Just when you think you’ve heard “Renegades” so many times you’ll pound in your car radio, it becomes an entirely new song when you see Sam pick up his sax or Noah motion that he can’t hear you yelling the lyrics. At the end of the night, all Indy was left wanting was another tour date.

-Kelly Fox

Click here for exclusive photos from the show