The Daily Aztec

X Ambassadors prove to be ‘Renegades’

X Ambassadors lead singer Sam Harris stole the stage with his saxophone solo at SOMA on Friday Feb. 23.

X Ambassadors lead singer Sam Harris stole the stage with his saxophone solo at SOMA on Friday Feb. 23.

Photos by Petey Dyer

Photos by Petey Dyer

X Ambassadors lead singer Sam Harris stole the stage with his saxophone solo at SOMA on Friday Feb. 23.

by Kelly Kerrigan, Staff Writer

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Owning the stage in his black and white button-up shirt, X Ambassadors lead singer Sam Harris entrapped the audience into a musical spell over the next hour and a half with the intense illumination of the theatre and intimate setlist that shapes the unique style of the band.

The 29-year-old lead singer’s ability to direct an entire audience into synonymous emotion is what made X Ambassadors’ Feb. 23 performance at SOMA one of a kind.

The rock trio used their platform to unify enthusiastic audience members during what they believe are turbulent times for the country — this is what stuck out the most.

The crowd had a range of people of all ages that fed off the energy of the performance’s riveting vocals and ground shaking tunes.

It is clear the band has much more to come in 2018, with its newly released song “Don’t Stay” that came out early this month and its hit single “Joyful” that was released in the beginning of the year.

The pop rock band opened the show with its 2017 single “Ahead of Myself” and immediately the high energy level of the night was set.

During the performance of the atmospheric single “Jungle,” the stage lights beamed into the crowd as the band showcased its many talents. Harris rocked out on a guitar only to then pick up a saxophone, leading into another instrumental solo.

Harris informed the crowd that he was suffering from a cold, but in no way let it affect his lively performance.

The New York rooted rock band delivered a passionate performance with its new song “Don’t Stay” where Sam Harris asked, “Can you feel it San Diego?” with the yearning lyrics of the single.

“Your head hurts, your body hurts, your pride hurts, you go to the bathroom and look in the mirror and you’re not sure you like what you see, you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom, there’s no way out, those mornings. You know those mornings San Diego? I know I do, so for anyone here who’s felt that way before, for all you lowlifes out here tonight this song is for you,” he said.

Harris preached before smoothly singing the song “Low Life,” a song about the hardships and internal struggles that make us human.

“I’m nothing but a low life/ thinking ‘bout my old life/ I can’t help myself I’m falling,” he sang.

X Ambassadors aren’t strangers to talking about politics and the current events that often polorize this country, so it was no surprise when they brought it up in San Diego.

Casey Harris, Sam’s brother and keyboardist, played a brooding melody on the keyboard that took a pause from the bands normal energetic performance.

After an emotional moment on the keyboard Sam Harris took the time to dedicate the next song “Unsteady” to the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting in Florida. Harris stood his ground as he demanded, “We need stricter gun control in this country.” The audience cheered along in agreement.

Harris sang, “Hold, hold on, hold on to me/ ‘Cause I’m a little unsteady, a little unsteady.”

Chills were felt across the venue.

That was not the only political stance the band made, they next performed “Renegades,” a song famously known for its appearance in a Jeep commercial but has a much deeper meaning hidden behind its catch melody. Harris opened the song with a passionate speech about celebrating the many differences Americans have from one another, referring to the movements President Trump has made in his presidency that many perceive to be segregating.

“You should never feel afraid to be who you are, we will never silence ourselves,” Harris said as he promised to never stop speaking out for those who don’t have a voice.

The next song “Joyful” concluded with the difficulties discussed throughout the night.

“And it’s up to me to try and meet my fate with a smile/ And it might sound silly, but I still will try,” he sang.

The band reminded the audience that a positive outlook on life will relay a better outcome than negativity.

Tucked away in the SOMA venue, which seems to be a hidden gem of its own, it was clear to see audience members dancing and singing along as if no one were watching — that was the power of X Ambassadors’ music.

What made the performance so good? Maybe it was lead singer Sam Harris and his energetic stage presence, maybe it was the relatable lyrics or maybe it was the melodious sounds that filled the night.

Based on the night’s performance and the passion that lies behind the band, it is clear that X Ambassadors fame is just beginning.

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