House of Blues
Jan. 30, 2014
Opening for Panic! at the Disco is a daunting task. Fans trickled into the venue after braving the biting Boston chill while waiting in a line that, quite literally, wrapped around the block. It’s hard to please an overly excited, impatient group of people who are here for the main act and would likely be content to skip your performance entirely.
That being said, X Ambassadors’ performance was all the more impressive. The alternative group, whose sound seems influenced by pop punk and a bit of soul and style screams ‘Brooklyn Indie Rock,’ filled the House of Blues with quality music from the start of the night. The band was full of multi-talented musicians, Adam Levin giving an outstanding performance on drums, with Sam Harris, the lead vocalist, supporting percussion and occasionally picking up a saxophone, while his brother Casey Harris played keyboard and guitarist Noah Feldshuh supported vocals.
The band had a lengthy set list for an opening act, but no onlookers seemed bored. A single song in, and the audience was head-bobbing along to the bass-heavy beat. A few songs later, the woman standing next to me turned to proclaim that the music was “so [expletive] sick!” Each band member easily held his own onstage. While Feldshuh and Levin pulled intense facial expressions, Casey Harris let the music move through his body to the ends of his arms, one of which was always raised above his head between chords. Their enthusiasm spread easily to the audience. Sam Harris’s dance moves were later described by Panic!’s Brendon Urie as “Usher Raymond-like.” The long hip rolls that the lead vocalist pulled out during the chorus of the title song of X Ambassadors’ first EP, Love Songs, Drug Songs, created a panic of their own.
After the show was over, a sizable horde of fans, male and female alike (though decidedly erring more toward female), crowded around Sam Harris for pictures, hugs, and autographs on their newly purchased albums and t-shirts. The group’s career may be in its beginnings, but it certainly isn’t nearing its end. It goes without saying—X Ambassadors know how to perform.