Friday night featured a high-energy show on the Sands Steel Stage, when alternative rockers X Ambassadors came to rock the opening night of Musikfest.
Supported by opening acts Jukebox the Ghost and Rachel Platten, the Ithaca, New York-based four-piece rocked an opening night crowd of a couple thousand mostly 20- and 30-somethings.
Although we regretfully missed Jukebox the Ghost (we hadn’t arrived to South Side from opening ceremonies in time), LVU arrived just in time for Platten to take the stage. The pop singer excited the younger members of the audience in particular with hit songs like, “Fight Song” and “Stand By You.”
As night fell, X Ambassadors took the stage and delivered a strong and energetic performance that immediately captivated the audience. The band contrasted fun, swinging rock tunes like “Naked” and “Gorgeous” with mellow tunes like “Low Life” just as well as the intense “Jungle.”
A particularly powerful moment came toward the end of the show, right before the band played its biggest hit, “Renegades.” Frontman Sam Harris took time before the song to call upon the audience to unify and evoke positive change in the world, and then encouraged a sing-along to the tune’s catchy, “Hey-hey-hey” chorus.