X Ambassadors and The Aces kick of the holiday season with a bang

 By Michelle Wheeler

December 2, 2017

Night Two of WEND’s Not So Acoustic Christmas didn’t feature any holiday singalongs, but it definitely left audiences ready to party all month long after energizing performances from X Ambassadors and openers The Aces.

Originally hailing from a conservative Utah town, The Aces are an all-girl band that’s been playing together for a decade, starting when the members were in middle and elementary school. They’re young, and their music reflects the fact that their parents raised them on the 80s and 90s hits of their own formative years. Playing songs from their EP “I Don’t Like Being Honest,” the band was energetic and comfortable on stage.

In a world where it’s still a novelty to see girls playing bass guitars and drums, The Aces play with a precision that makes you forget all about gender roles and stereotypes, and respect that their band is simply made up of solid musicians. Though the audience wasn’t as familiar with their music, the upbeat pop songs got the crowd moving and warmed up for the main event.

X Ambassadors came out of the gate with the one-two punch of “Jungle” and “Loveless.” The power-pop songs had the crowd jumping and cheering non-stop. The band sounded great and seemed to be having just as much fun onstage as the audience was having off.

Lead singer Sam Harris has a commanding stage presence and was in incredible vocal form. His powerful falsetto is reminiscent of Adam Levine, but he makes it his own and works it seamlessly into songs like “Gorgeous” – a crowd-pleasing favorite. Harris looks like a rock star, but sings like a diva.

For those not familiar with an X Ambassadors live performance, perhaps the most surprising moments came when Harris pulled out his saxophone to add jazz-infused loops to songs like “Love Songs Drug Songs,” proving that marching band experience can play off in the real world.

The band saved their biggest radio hits, “Unsteady” and “Renegades” for the end, and the crowd was ready for them. Harris let the audience sing the first chorus of “Unsteady,” calling Charlotte out for sounding “so good.”

The night was a high energy party-atmosphere show, and the synergy between the bands and the crowd made for a fun way to kick off the holiday season.  

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