The Brooklyn-based group Ambassadors took the stage early on at Lollapalooza this year but their performance fell short of their capabilities. While front man Sam Harris’ energy- as he banged away at the percussions during the band’s opening number- gave the group a triumphant start, their presence dwindled as each song went into the next.
Nevertheless, the band’s emphatic entrance came off as passionate, drawing a significant number of passer-byers drifting through the fest’s crossroads in search of a way to spend the event’s early afternoon.
The audience demographic grew with size, evolving from several dozen presumable fans lining the lawn to an eclectic mix of rockers, average Joes, hippies and the middle-aged. The colorful amalgamation of the crowd found sensibility via the rich mixture of genres that gained the band notoriety over the past six years, during which Ambassadors has risen from an act carving a niche in the New York City progressive music scene to a group reeling in new fans with every performance. Because of this, the band is well on its way to building a national identity. By the looks of both loyal fans singing along and virgins to their sound bopping their heads in unison, Ambassadors deserves every of the many opportunities coming their way.
This is exactly why their Lollapalooza performance felt lacking. With their considerable amount of hype, energy-fueled opener, and continuously growing crowd, a newcomer to the band’s live show might have expected one of the festival’s better performances. Even from a distance, the impactful sound of their music might aid this assumption – whether or not you like them, it is hard to argue that they aren’t talented.
Take one look at the stage early on and you would have seen the lead vocalist and keyboardist – brothers who have been playing together since childhood – commanding the stage like they were having the time of their lives. However, if you looked over at the the guitarist and the drummer, it was as if there was a depressing darkness shrouding the stage. Their timidity suggested discomfort or insecurity, an oddity considering that their respective talents shone brightly through the flairs their instrumentation brought to each song. Midway through the set, it was as if this attitude was contagious, affecting the entire band as they performed slower numbers that had an almost early 2000’s emo sound about them. With the lull affecting the audience, the time arose for some to drift on in search of another next big thing. At the same time, however, the group’s obvious talent persisted, keeping viewers loyally glued to their perches in the grass. And there were many more of them than dissenters.
In this particular case, fan loyalty would have paid off. For those wise enough to have stuck around until the set’s end, Ambassadors closed the show with the strength of a hungry band on the rise toward a better place. Their talent and ability to play note-to-note with their record, veering only when in the pursuit of making parts better, has and will probably continue to show them vaster amounts of success.
It is because of this that Ambassadors, despite a mediocre show, isn’t a band to miss. By the hints of awesomeness popping up early and near the end of the set, it seems like their live performance isn’t something to miss, either.
To hear more tunes, visit Ambassdors on Myspace.