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Mace & Crown | January 17, 2018

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X Ambassadors triumphant return to Norfolk

Lindsey Lanham | A&E Editor

It’s still early in the night when Sam Harris helps his brother, Casey Harris, across stage. Sam gently places Casey’s hands on the keyboard, guiding him to where he needs to stand. Once Casey is situated, Sam makes his way to his mic and the opening notes of “Jungle” start to play, signaling the beginning of the concert.

Casey was born blind, but clearly, that hasn’t stopped him. Once a professional piano tuner, Casey now tours the country with Sam and the rest of X Ambassadors. And on Nov. 29 at The NorVa, with his custom-made keyboard, he effortlessly played along with the rest of the band.

“This city has stayed with us since the very, very beginning. We see you Norfolk, Virginia. We see you and we love you very much,” Sam said after they played “Hang On.”

X Ambassadors played new songs, as well as crowd favorites like “Nervous” and “Gorgeous.” One of their newer tracks, “Ahead of Myself,” was also a crowd pleaser. It seemed as if the band could do no harm with Sam’s charm. He asked for the audience’s attention and they were more than happy to give it to him.

96X is the first radio station to ever play X Ambassador’s music and the band hasn’t forgotten. After almost every song, every chance he got, Sam was thanking the audience, thanking the radio station and thanking the city.

For the encore, Sam steps back out on stage with just an acoustic guitar in hand. He explains that this was the first song that 96X played by them and that it was just going to be him performing it alone. The song was “Litost,” and as the crowd sang along, it was clear that Norfolk was grateful to have X Ambassadors back.

Before the encore, Sam took the time to introduce one of the band’s more notable songs. “[This song] It’s about celebrating differences,” he said. “And to never ever be afraid of those differences no matter who you are.”

“If you’re not a citizen of this country or you are a citizen of this country, you do not have to be afraid. Not now. Not tonight. Not ever. We stand on this stage as your allies…,” Sam continued. “We will stand up for your rights as human beings on this planet, I swear to God.”

The crowd cheered as Sam kept talking, encouraging the audience to get louder and louder. “And if you’re with us Norfolk, I want you to sing this song as loud as you can,” Sam finished, immediately going into singing their hit single “Renegades.”

“Renegades” was X Ambassadors’ breakout single. A traditional alt-rock track, Sam sings of unifying youth. One of their more pop-influenced tracks, complete with a catchy chorus and memorable verses, “Renegades” is, and will forever be, an X Ambassadors classic.

The crowd keeps cheering and Sam waves and nods one more time towards the audience. Casey stands up straight from behind his keyboard. He has a grin on his face as he grabs his cane and Sam helps him make his way off stage. The lights on stage go dim and the show starts to end.