X Ambassadors Rocks the Cusebah at SU's Bandersnatch


Photos by Chris Sechler

A sold-out crowd assembled in Underground Schine Wednesday night for the Bandersnatch concert presented by University Union, featuring “Renegades” band, X Ambassadors.

Tribe Society, the Manhattan-based alt-grunge group behind “Kings” comprised of members from Boston’s Gentlemen Hall, opened with funk-groove synths and an insane drum solo. Throwing their own eclectic twists on Major Lazer’s “Lean On” and Eminem’s “Cleaning Out My Closet,” the band performed a great balance of thoughtful political anthems and head banging covers.

Lead vocalist Gavin McDevitt’s haunting tone and killer high notes were a surprising contrast to the bite of gravel in his lower range. He brought the hype, jumping onto the front row while belting and pointing out different crowd members, mouthing the words, “I fuckin’ love it.”

Shout-out to Bradford Alderman’s hair and Seth Hachen’s piccolo jam solos. Never has a flute sounded so metal.

Every crowd member was grooving and swaying by the end of Tribe Society’s set, hyped for the main attraction.

“Let me see your own five fingers up, Syracuse!” Lead vocalist Sam Harris knew how to work the room like a ringmaster. His performance was pure, revealing the genuine feeling behind each lyric and showing the struggles he and his brother have faced that inspire their music.

IMG_1575Casey Harris wailed on synth and keyboard, head banging like a member of the Muppets house band song after song. Noah Feldshuh and Adam Levin round out the group. They may be few in numbers, but their sound punched through the walls of Schine and filled the room with rich, layered instrumentals (and powerful vocals on Harris’ part).

The connection between band members and brothers, Casey and Sam, was palpable. The group performed like one cohesive being, together on every beat and subtle transition between songs.

Tribe Society’s drummer, Phil Boucher, admired X Ambassadors’ ability to vibe onstage and transcend that playful, impactful bond to the audience. To told Jerk, “I watch them and that connection is just – it’s something to learn from.”

IMG_1536 Harris’ vocals on “Unsteady” were haunting as he drew on memories of his parents’ divorce and the hardships he's faced in past relationships. Transitioning from deep power ballads to crowd-jumping ragers, the band’s seamless intensity kept a hold on the audience for the entirety of their set.

Originating from Ithaca, NY, the Harris brothers explained why playing such an intimate setting like Schine is their pleasure. They says it's the smaller, more intimate arenas that got them into playing music in the first place. For that reasons, shows like Wednesday night's are still very important to them.

The musicians were unbelievably grateful for their hit song “Renegades," which boosted their popularity after years of making fantastic music under the radar.

“Headlining, you’re working for people who are your loyal fans, and you want to give them the best show possible,” said Sam Harris.

Based on the raving audience and well-received tour, X Ambassadors had no problem fulfilling their goal.

Look out for the Tribe Society at the Westcott Theatre on November 12th.

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