X Ambassadors wow as they sell out Wooly’s


Michelle Kumar

Lead singer Sam Harris encourages the crowd to sing to the chorus of Unsteady as guitarist Noah Feldshuh and keyboardist Casey Harris provide vocals. Unsteady was released on their 2014 EP The Reason.

Michelle Kumar, Staff Writer

The X Ambassadors played Wooly’s Nov. 6 on their VHS tour and in short, crushed it. There is a very good reason tickets sold out so quickly. You know a concert is great when people three times your age push you aside, and jump up and down so they can see the lead singer’s sweat.

Fortunately for me, this was my second time seeing them live. The first time being when I got to see them in Des Moines this past summer, on the day their first album dropped. Wooly’s has always been a favorite place of mine for concerts, because the setting is intimate and there is no room for extra fluff. Sam Harris, the lead singer, pulled that off so very well. It was just the music and him occasionally making your heart stop with his fantastic saxophone skills.

The only disappointing parts of the night were the main opening act, Skylar Grey, the fact that the show was 40 minutes behind and the repeat of the set list. Grey was one of two opening acts, and I guess you could say I did not understand why she was the one they hyped up.

You may recognize her name from her vocals on the chorus to “Coming Home” by Diddy, but her style of music has changed considerably since her pop days. She does electro-dance/pop/indie/folk/trance music now, and I genuinely do not know how to describe it, because I did not even know what she was saying half the time through the very intentional heavy, auto-tune.

It was not bad, but it was not good. I would not mind listening to the style of music, but it did not suit her very well unfortunately. I was completely shocked when she started doing covers with her real voice, because holy crap she has got a set of fantastic, natural, no auto-tune necessary vocal chords.

What she was not able to bring forth, the first opening act, Kevin Garrett exceedingly made up for. He’s described as a pop musician but fits in better with the alternative crowd, Garrett has the most angelic voice I have ever heard.  If you need a current reference, just imagine Shawn Mendes singing mellow, indie music. But, hey Kevin just a heads up, if a concert starts at 7:30 p.m. you should not make the crowd wait till 8:15 p.m. to see you, and then put them to sleep with your mellow music.

The down side to seeing the same act twice, less than four months apart, is the repeat. The set list for X Ambassadors did not change, which is disappointing to someone who knows they have a bounty of strong songs from their EP’s and debut album. Seeing them the first time was incredible, because they had just dropped the album and they were high energy. Harris even got a bit crazy when he ended standing up on the speakers during “Jungle”.

There are lots of things that make the X Ambassadors amazing, like their consistency and quality lyrics. However in their live performance, it is Casey Harris, the keyboardist, that steals the show. Casey has been blind since birth, but one would never be able to tell with his outstanding skills, how he gets into the music and carries a lot of the songs. A special mention should also be made for Noah Feldshuh, the guitarist. He shredded on his guitar during the transitions and really took some of the songs from great, to out of this world.

By no means was it a bad show. If that was your first time seeing them live, you probably went home crying from how amazing it was. Sam and his saxophone were the highlight of the night. Overall it was well worth it and if you get the chance to see them you should take it.