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X Ambassadors 'Townie Tour' ends on a High

Wrapping up their 2024 ‘Townie Tour,' The X Ambassadors stopped by The Van Buren in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. The X Ambassadors formed in 2009, but did not release their debut album until 2015. Almost a decade later, the band is still releasing music and performing at the top of their game. Traveling on a title tour, the ‘Townie' album released April 5, the day they kicked off their North American coast to coast trip in Vancouver. This was personally my first time seeing them live, and as late as I was to the party it felt like I joined day one. The energy the band plays with makes it hard to believe they have been touring for 10 years. I did see them at my favorite Phoenix venue, and will say it's firmly up there in shows I have seen there. 


The show was opened by New West, a Toronto-based band who recently won Breakthrough Group of the Year in 2024 at the Canadian Music Awards. The guys have personality, and I don't know much about the Canadian music scene but I'd say they absolutely deserved that award. They have incredible stage presence and have a very similar melodic but upbeat sound like X Ambassadors. Frontman Kala Wita brought the house down with his dancing and keyboard playing. The dynamic group has a bright future and are lucky to be mentored by the X ambassadors veterans. 


X Ambassadors come out absolutely swinging with the fan-favorite "Renegades." The certified platinum song is no short of iconic and just as good live as you could guess. Released in 2015, that album ‘VHS’ still holds up to this day completely. XA comes from that 2010’s run of indie pop rock where classic met new aged instruments. Utilizing synths, and a more modern pop groove, the group blends their sound with old-school roots. They’re touring off their album “Townie” but they sprinkle in their greatest hits throughout the set. The new album flows very well with the hits from their first major album “VHS.” My personal favorite from Townie and third up on the setlist is "Smoke on the Highway" which is a tale about their hobbies driving around their small town of Ithaca, New York. It is similar to the acoustic nature of "Renegades" which displays the roots of their sound though is less of a rock album than some of their other releases. It lines up with their 2018 album ‘Orion' in terms of a more indie, alternative pop sound. With the diversity of their discography, the show has a little something for every fan under the broad “alt/indie/pop” umbrella.


Unfortunately, it is the end of the tour so you’ll have to take my word for how talented these guys are live. May I suggest YouTube videos of "No Strings," "Happy People," and "Smoke on the Highway."


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