X Ambassadors performing at Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, ON on 04/24/24. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

Toronto, Canada – It’s still daylight. The sun is shining and the city is in bloom as I head out on the road to the Danforth Music Hall. It’s just before 6:00pm when I leave my home well east of Toronto. While it’s still a tad on the chilly side, it’s a glorious day! The expectations are that the glory will carry over into the evening as X Ambassadors bring their 2024 Townies Tour to town.

I’m a little later than I usually am at this point, but still arrive at the venue ahead of doors opening, and the lineup extends down Danforth Avenue to Broadview. That’s an eye opener! As I head to the ticket booth to pick up my pass, I run into my girlfriend’s cousin Troy, his wife Jessica, and their two young daughters. They live even further east than I. On a good day, they’re an hour 45 trek to make it here. Yep, there is certainly a buzz!

As I eventually make my way into the venue, and to the front of the stage, I notice a fan and what I presume to be his wife, in the front with a baby strapped to his chest. A second very young daughter in tow. Another couple (situated inside the barricade, off to the side of the stage) engage me in some conversation about my camera. They are also live music photographers, but tonight they are fans who have made the drive from Buffalo (sorry Troy, they got you beat on this night!). Turns out that they come to Toronto fairly frequently to catch shows that simply don’t stop in their city. We had a great conversation, even trashing the Toronto traffic! One thing is clear to me before the show is even close to starting… there are some serious fans here. Yep! It feels like it’s going to be a good night!

Noah Gundersen

Noah Gundersen performing at Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, ON on 04/24/24. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

Opening this leg of the tour for X Ambassadors is Seattle’s Noah Gundersen. Noah is an indie folk artist who has been involved in music since he was an early teenager. Despite having been involved with a couple bands, the singer seems to have found his niche as a solo performer and you can’t get much solo’er than Noah. Shortly after 8:00pm, Noah heads out to center stage, just him, acoustic guitar in hand, and starts into his set.

The singer’s voice immediately hooks the crowd. Two songs in, he engages with them, and tells them how amazing they are. He explains that the night before was a bit of a rough affair, although he doesn’t go into detail. I would imagine perhaps the reception wasn’t as good as what he has gotten here thus far. He’s happy to have redemption, and he continues into his set. As I’m sure you know, indie folk is typically a much softer affair, and with only a voice and an acoustic guitar in front of hundreds of people, this can’t be an easy assignment.

Unfortunately, by the end of the artist’s set, I notice a lot of “chatting” fans. It’s always so disrespectful in my opinion, both to the fans around the talkers, and more importantly, to the performer. It’s so not cool! The good thing, however, is that there are still a lot of fans who show their appreciation. Applause and whistles accompany an extremely awesome supporting act.

X Ambassadors

X Ambassadors performing at Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, ON on 04/24/24. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

It’s loud in here with chatter. It feels as though the crowd is anxious for the upbeat, dancier pop rock from tonight’s headliners. I notice the stage is stripped down to the core. There’s no fancy set dressing. Just a drum kit in the back, a keyboard stage left, and a few microphone stands. And just like that, the venue goes dark. The crowd cheers, and the band appears before us. The visually impaired keyboardist, and brother of frontman Sam Harris, Casey Harris is led to position behind his keys. The aforementioned Sam Harris now arrives. He immediately belts out “I said Hey!” and holds his microphone out to the crowd. They respond in turn “Hey Hey Hey!” and the band immediately bursts into arguably, the band’s top track “Renegades” from the band’s debut album VHS, and the crowd is immediately thrown into their heroes’ presence. There is quickly some great energy from Sam, and I think it’s a brilliant way to start the show. Why wait until the encore to get the crowd engaged with a very popular track?

The singer more formally engages with the crowd after the band’s second track. He tells the fans that the band loves Toronto, and that they have played this city more than any other, and that tonight, the band will be playing some music from their new record Townie. From this point, the band goes into a string of tracks, one after the other with non-stop dancing and action from the stage, and the enamored congregation on the floor.

Sam Harris of X Ambassadors performing at Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, ON on 04/24/24. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

During the track “Hey Child”, the crowd joins in with the chorus, singing to their heart’s content, and after a keyboard solo from Casey, they go absolutely wild. Sam continues to bring the energy on the stage with his moves, and the crowd is simply eating it up. The light show accompanying the music is also fantastic. It’s not something I typically say at this venue sadly, but tonight is a clear exception. While there is no “stage show” per se, the fans are definitely being treated to a show thus far.

We get some more interaction with the singer ahead of the band’s 6th track. He explains that the band recorded the track with Jack Ross and Teddy Swims. The crowd gives out a raucous applause as Sam continues to share the meaning of the song. “It’s about being absolutely, positively miserable! It’s a song called ‘Happy People’”. The mood comes down with the much gentler track. Harris’ voice is fantastic. The band sounds great. This is straight up Live Music, and I start to get a sense as to why the fans are so in love with these guys.

The new album that the band is touring to support is called Townie. “Cuz we’re townies!” explains the band’s frontman. “Because we’re from a small town in New York. If you’re from a small town, you know you just want to get the fuck out of there. So I went to New York. But it doesn’t work. You can’t run away from where you are.” (Funny side bar… where my family is from in Canada’s eastern most province of Newfoundland & Labrador, a “townie” is the exact opposite. There, if you are from the city, you are considered a “townie”… otherwise, you’re a “bayman”). The band dedicates the next track “No Strings” to a friend Todd, who passed away. They had never had the opportunity to dedicate a song to such a huge influence. After the band plays the song, we get a recording of a gentleman saying that he loves the new music and encourages them to keep on rolling. It’s a touching moment as the band has switched gears for the last few tracks, allowing for reflection.

Noah Feldshuh of X Ambassadors performing at Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, ON on 04/24/24. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

There are a lot of great stories, and heartfelt moments that the singer shares with the crowd, and their reactions are priceless. After “Half Life” a fan yells out “We’re getting married to that song!”. Sam then goes and sits down next to his keyboardist brother. He speaks of his love for him ahead of “Follow the Sound of my Voice”, and how they’ve been through so much together. Makes me think of my own bro, and the sadness of being miles apart. Especially during dark times like during the passing of parents. But these softer moments pass in the band’s set, as the tempo pick up for “Start a Band” in which opening act Noah Gundersen joins the group on stage and accompanies the X Ambassadors singer.

Somehow, in the world of music, there seems to be a negative stigma against pop music. At least with some folks that feel only the music they enjoy is worthy, and how everything else is shit. I don’t follow the same mindset. While I’m not a fan of every genre of music, I find it all has it’s validity. If it makes you “feel”, then that’s all that matters. And one thing is for certain… the X Ambassadors have a fan base who “feels”… at least here in Toronto.

Set List

Smoke on the Highway
Home (Machine Gun Kelly, X Ambassadors & Bebe Rexha cover)
Happy People
No Strings
Follow the Sound of My Voice
Start a Band



X Ambassadors Online

show date: April 24, 2024