Going to a live show when unfamiliar with one or more of the performers is always the source of anxiety and excitement. It was definitely the latter when attending the Connecticut stop of X Ambassadors’ “The Reason Tour” last week, especially for their tour-mates, Parade of Lights.
Whether the crowd had come mainly for the headliner or were there specifically for Parade of Lights, they were immediately engaged to POL’s brand of alt-dance rock. Although they include “shoegaze” in some of their bios, there is nothing ambient about their music. This band, literally and figuratively, had the place jumping (although, as with many CT audiences, there’s not a lot of actual dancing). Vocalist, Ryan Daly, is the delicious icing on this sonic cake. His voice sounds a bit like Chris Martin, but don’t expect anything as boring as Coldplay from him or the rest of the band which includes Anthony Improgo, Michelle Ashley and Randy Schulte. Special props to Michelle who held down the merch table most of the night. She was a great envoy for the group. By the end of the set, if there is anything negative to say, it is that this band deserves a much bigger room. Although The Space is close to this writer’s heart, it is small and it is a basement venue so sound hits the walls and stops. It is a very challenging room to mix which not all the techs have mastered. Parade Of Lights is, sonically, very large so it will be interesting to hear them in a venue that better suits them.
X Ambassadors were not a complete surprise. They had recently opened for Panic! at The Disco in Wallingford. However, this experience was different in a number of ways starting with being closer to the band. Considering what a show they put on, being able to see it more closely definitely changes the experience. Despite Casey Harris’s lack of sight, he is incredibly passionate and physically involved in the music. Along with playing keys, his whole body is always in motion and connected to the song. His brother Sam, who fronts X Ambassadors, is non-stop enthusiasm. This guy plays sax and sings! For all the energy he exerts just on vocals, it is impressive to watch him play a wind instrument and still come back with a strong vocal. Noah Feldshuh and Adam Levin complete this quartet of awesomeness. They featured songs from their new album, The Reason, which were as great live as they are recorded. They closed with an encore of “Jungle”, which is a single they originally recorded with Jamie N Commons. Gotta say, Sam blew this one out of the water. Encores should leave an audience wanting more and this one more than did that. Again, the only complaint was the size of the venue. Having seen them in a much bigger room, hopefully they can build their fanbase to move into that league on a regular because their sound is huge in all the best ways.
X Ambassadors just announced an in-store during their tour stop in Chicago, this Wednesday, April 16th. They will play the Apple Store on North Michigan Avenue.
For more information about them and upcoming performances visit: http://www.xambassadors.com/tour
Check our our interview with Sam Harris of X Ambassadors here[hr color=”light-grey” width=”100″ border_width=”50″ ]
We featured Parade of Lights in Issue 11. Check out the feature here.