X Ambassadors, in the wake of the Paris attacks

Skylar Grey sets 'em up but doesn't knock 'em down

"Renegades" isn't the only hit for New York indie rockers X Ambassadors.
  • "Renegades" isn't the only hit for New York indie rockers X Ambassadors.

I only knew X Ambassadors' song "Renegades," so I wasn't sure what to expect from the show and was slightly afraid that all the songs would sound the same. But lead singer Sam Harris is a high-energy frontman and has one of those voices ideal for rocking out. His high notes on "Gorgeous" were reminiscent of Prince, and "Unsteady" is a nice rock ballad about not having it fully together. Harris commended the crowd for coming out in the wake of the Paris attacks before breaking into "Renegades."

Skylar Grey

Skylar Grey

Before X Ambassadors, Skylar Grey was a surprise. She has a pleasant voice, but her songs were too atmospheric for my liking — lots of instrumental buildup that ultimately didn't deliver the punch she was looking for. The only song that resonated with me was "Moving Mountains," a motivational song inspired by the scenery near her home in Utah. The surprising part about Grey is that she has an extensive songwriting and collaboration catalog, from which she provided the audience short snippets, including "Love the Way You Lie" by Eminem and Rihanna, "Clarity" by Zedd, and "Coming Home" by Diddy-Dirty Money (and featuring Grey). It's clear she knows how to write a hit but prefers the more avant-garde for her own music.

Since it was the last day of the tour for Grey before X Ambassadors headed to Canada, Grey and her band also appeared during XA's performance of "Naked," only in towels, to dance to the song and, ultimately, Grey flashed the band (not the audience).

On a venue note, it was a full house, but security kept the number of people on the floor limited, which was an improvement from previous shows.

  • Concert: X Ambassadors and Skylar Grey
  • Date: November 15
  • Venue: Observatory North Park
  • Seats: Second tier, middle

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