In a town dominated by the college crowd, it is no surprise that a “good vibes and real shit” sort of group like X Ambassadors would pack the house on a Friday night. Selling out one of Fargo’s latest trending venues, The Sanctuary, these New York natives received a lot of love from their North Dakota fans who filled the tight floor space and crowded the balcony.
The openers for the night were a small town North Dakota band by the name of The New Arizona, whose modern pop punk music quickly won over the audience. They had their own small posse of ‘die-hards’ in the front row who sang along to nearly every song and screamed any time frontman Josiah Billock flashed his charming smile their way.
Aside from their obvious brownie points with the ladies, this crew of four had a good thing going for them sound wise. With influences like The 1975 and Brand New they have a sort of 'coffee house' alternative vibe. Their melodies are calming but they keep the tempo upbeat enough to keep you from nodding off. There were times the harmonies fell a little flat, but when they were on, they were spot on. Add on some experience and a bit of refining, these guys may find their way to the next Top 40.
After a thirty minute interval and a lull in the excitement, the energy exploded the minute the lights went down. X Ambassadors entered the stage with frontman Sam Harris first leading his brother and keyboardist Casey to his instrument before taking his place center stage, never skipping a beat. Sam was like the energizer bunny, jumping around, dancing and getting personal with the front row as he reached out to high five and grab waving hands. The crowd was immediately engaged and the heat began to rise as the once relaxed group of twenty something year olds were suddenly all hyped up like children on a sugar rush.
The musicians were one being on stage, feeding off of each other’s talents to create the quality music X Ambassadors have become known for. With their music reinvented, making it more impactful for a live performance, they played on the heavier bass lines and drum beats giving the audience a little more to dance and bop along to. Their setlist consisted of fan favorites from anthems such as ‘Renegades’ and ‘Lowlife’ to the emotional ‘Unsteady’ and the soulfully executed ‘Gorgeous’, with which the crowd went nuts.
Every song was welcomed with loud cheers and voices singing every word back. Casey filled in any transitions with key playing while Sam made commentary and held the connection with the eager listeners, making the night about the fans. The short set, roughly an hour long, was closed with the encore being an older X Ambassador piece, ‘Inconsolable’ and though it seemed to be the least recognizable with most of those in attendance, by the second chorus everyone was singing along.
Full X AMBASSADORS photo coverage here.
Full THE NEW ARIZONA photo coverage here.