After an electric performance by MisterWives, the Movin’ On stage emptied and alternative rockers X Ambassadors filled the airwaves with their electric, stomping anthems from their debut record “VHS.”
The rain-soaked crowd hurriedly pressed themselves against the barricade, seemingly unfazed by the pick-up in precipitation as the band’s lead singer Sam Harris skipped his way to the microphone. “Penn State, are you guys ready for the show?!” A huge eruption and hundreds of hands thrown high acted were the perfect answer to his question, as a bluesy version of “Loveless” opened X Ambassadors’ set.
Harris’ stage presence was vibrant and addicting, and he engaged the audience by jumping from speaker to speaker through each of the songs’ verses. He also showcased his talent for multiple instruments, switching from lead vocals to a saxophone to sweet guitar licks during solos.
After rocking the crowd with heavy and grungy songs like “Fear” and “Low Life,” the heartbreaking ballad “Unsteady” completely silenced the crowd. Goosebumps coated every person in attendance, and before Harris’ soulful, supple baritone could begin its climb, beautiful guitar and piano solos left everyone speechless. Harris then invited the throng of fans to sing along with him and sway their hands back and forth. With a smile spread across his face after the crowd’s submission, Harris complimented the crowd’s skill – “This sounds so beautiful, Penn State. Keep on singing.”
X Ambassadors then ripped apart the silence as they forfeited the soft ballad in “Unsteady” for glam-buoyant disco tracks “Naked” and “Gorgeous.”
“A lot of good-looking people go to this school,” Harris said with a crooked grin. “[Naked]’s really just a song about taking all your clothes off, which I know y’all at college at Penn State know how to do.”
The upbeat tempos and fancy guitar-run outros from the two songs forced the crowd to start clapping and dancing to the beat, and Movin’ On was grooving again.
X Ambassadors closed out its high-spirited performance with crowd favorites “Jungle” and “Renegades” and left little work for Nelly to continue energizing Movin’ On’s growing mob.