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The X Ambassadors at The Van Buren: My Experience

By: Lauren Bukoskey

The X Ambassadors performed at the intimate venue of The Van Buren in Downtown Phoenix as they promoted the release of their upcoming album.

They have released two singles off the album, “Joyful” and “Don’t Stay”, both staying true to their distinctive sound.


Photo: Tristen Lee (Instagram: @tristen_leeyoung)

“Gentle” is the word I would use to describe the new songs. Before you roll your eyes at that statement, hear me out. I noticed how their songs are alternative rock but so much more grounded and emotional than the stereotypical rock group. They are three guys (two are brothers) who definitely can rock leather jackets like no one’s business, yet still seem approachable. They bring a hint of humbleness to the typical rock persona.


Photo: Tristen Lee (Instagram: @tristen_leeyoung)

In fact, humbled is exactly what I thought when the band hit the stage. The lead vocalist Sam Harris didn’t come out with a huge production and useless frills, he started singing “Ahead of Myself” by casually strolling out and greeting the crowd between lyrics. Don’t get me wrong, the crowd still went crazy but the opening offered a much more raw and stripped down vibe than some artists would choose.

What also surprised me was the diversity in the crowd. In front of me, there was a group of adults talking about how much they don’t like millennials, slamming the avocado toast trend and other such things, but behind me was a group of millennial teenage girls. The band carries such a variety of fans, it made people watching almost as interesting as the actual performance. Okay, that is actually a huge stretch but still I wasn’t expecting to see so many ages.

As Sam Harris sang his first song, “Ahead of Myself”, the keyboardist Casey Harris and drummer Adam Levin hit the stage while a purple haze of lights illuminated the audience.  They led the first song with their other big hit “Jungle”. The bass in this song was electrifying and the white lights flooded the entire stage on the beat. The crowd was as “lit” as the millennial haters would cringe to say.

Photo: Tristen Lee (Instagram: @tristen_leeyoung)

They also performed “Love Songs Drug Songs”, “Fear” and their other new single “Don’t Stay”. Harris nailed the high notes in the song better than my brother would be able to pre-puberty. Before singing the song “Lowlife”, Harris asked “Are you still with us Phoenix?”, but to be honest, it’s safe to say their performance never lost anyone in the crowd.

Harris explained “Lowlife” as “a song about when everything’s gone to Hell. You fucked up too many times, [you] found yourself in a deep dark pit.”


Photo: Tristen Lee (Instagram: @tristen_leeyoung)

Every college student can think of a time when they are having a hard time keeping up with assignments and due dates. Just like how every millennial can relate to the struggle of taking the worst avocado toast picture. But we have all had that point in life where we aren’t exactly sure where we are going or when we just don’t know what to do to make ourselves better. This song challenges that feeling, and completely owns it.

Throughout the whole show, the X Ambassadors had the same amount of energy and never let up. I can definitely say that everyone, from the millennial haters to the actual millennials, appreciated their show and sang along just as loud.

What concerts are you heading to this summer? Let us know on Instagram and Twitter!


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