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Review: X Ambassadors at The Fillmore Detroit

X Ambassadors The Fillmore

By Justin Trudell

“I hope you guys are ready to experience the greatest show of your entire lives”

A promise is a promise, and lead singer Sam Harris delivered on his at The Fillmore in Detroit last night. X Ambassadors played an undeniably powerful show for the electric crowd. The set kicked off with “Loveless”, the thunderous track featured impressive soaring vocals that took hold of us and didn’t let go until long after the show was over. Sam Harris possesses an energetic stage presence that’s comparable to some of the best I’ve ever witnessed.  He never stopped, and continued to coax the audience to join in with him, to which they were more than happy to oblige.

The best moment was during their performance of “Unsteady“. As soon as the first couple notes were struck, delighted shrieks of excitement echoed throughout the venue. Nearly the entire first verse was sung by the crowd, and culminated in a community arm waving cadence during the chorus. It was a great moment for X Ambassadors, a band that hasn’t yet established themselves like some other major acts, but is well on their way. Speaking of establishing themselves, the opener, Robert DeLong, was the best part of my night.

 

Robert DeLong worked the stage like no one I’ve ever seen, and he had the sweat to prove it. While I’m already familiar with DeLong, this was the first time I’ve experienced him live, and he’s amazing. Robert DeLong used a mix of electronic dance music, traditional rock instruments, and retro gaming devices to create the most unique stage show ever seen. Seriously, he used an N64 controller, Wii remote, and Atari joystick to create music somehow. All of the incredible sounds get looped and synthesized through the many gadgets he has as he jumps around on stage, hyping up the crowd. He took a seat behind his drum kit to give us a 3-minute solo, a guitar solo later in the set, and all the while he sings all the lyrics to the music he’s creating. You really have to see Robert DeLong live to appreciate how incredible he is. He finished his set with a thumping rendition of “Global Concepts“, where his lyrics ask us, “Did I play my songs too loud? Did I leave my life to chance…or did I make you fucking dance?” Hell yeah you did. I can’t wait to see him perform again.

Robert DeLong at The Fillmore

The evening was filled with pleasant surprises in many ways. One of which came as I was looking up information on X Ambassadors after the show. I wasn’t aware, but their keyboard player, Casey Harris, is the brother of lead singer Sam Harris, and has also been blind since birth. After hearing this, a friend made an interesting observation about his dancing during the show.

“Casey’s dancing on stage is a pure reflection to how the music makes him feel. Most of us knowingly or unknowingly imitate our dancing based on what we see other people do. But, he’s just letting the music take him. It’s so pure and authentic.”

A really beautiful thought for a really beautiful night.

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