Monday, October 29, 2012
Live Review: Ambassadors, Black Cat DC (9/4/12)
The band focused mostly on material from their latest album Litost, sprinkling in a couple older songs from their debut as well as a brand new song. The track was potentially the best track played all night, and was a definite progression for the band, adding a danceable groove to their usual style. The song pushed every member perhaps further than they had all night, and the song received the strongest reaction of the night.
It helps when your frontman knows how to absolutely take over a crowd, and Ambassadors vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Sam Harris was absolutely the dominant figure of the performance. His voice was a strong combination of soulful and powerful, matching up almost perfectly to his recorded vocals, and his energy never left, even for a second. He showed his extraordinary musical talent by playing bass, guitar, and percussion throughout the night, seamlessly moving between instruments and never once seeming incompetent.
The rest of the band helped fill in the gaps behind Sam's performance. Brother Casey Harris was fantastic behind the keyboard, sparkling brightest in "Bodybag." Guitarist Noah Feldshuh was an underrated part of the performance, launching into unforgettable riffs that were especially apparent when Sam was focused more on percussion rather than guitar or bass. While he did stay towards the side and didn't put himself out there as much as Sam, he was obviously an integral part of the performance.
It's hard to play small shows. These shows are a band's one chance to impress, and any failure could permanently set the band back. They are the band's life force, and successful ones can only launch the band to higher levels. Ambassadors were able to dominate their surroundings, creating a musical aura that was impossible to ignore, and embraced the intimate venue to send their performance to another spectrum.