815 V St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001
Doors 7:00 PM
KIDinaKORNER/Interscope band X Ambassadors’ debut album VHS reflected on the events that shaped lead vocalist and lyricist Sam Harris and his older brother, keyboardist Casey Harris’ life growing up in Ithaca, NY. The gold-certified album, which Rolling Stone called “bombastic rock that’s as stomping as it is diaristic, leavened by big-tent pop hooks and a hint of hip-hop swagger,” debuted at No. 7 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart and spawned the platinum-selling “Renegades,” which spent 12 consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Alternative chart, and the double-platinum “Unsteady.” The success of VHS sent X Ambassadors on a nearly two-year touring odyssey that found them winning over fans around the world and performing at the Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Life is Beautiful, and Shaky Knees festivals, among others, and establishing themselves as a world-class rock band. X Ambassadors recently released the impassioned “Ahead of Myself,” the first single off their forthcoming sophomore set. X Ambassadors returned to Ithaca this fall to co-headline their inaugural Cayuga Sound Festival with The Roots, giving back to the community that nurtured their talent. www.xambassadors.com
With the release of “SGL”, Now, Now emerge from a transformative and transitional few years since their last shows played in support of Threads. Much has changed, with the mutual and amicable departure of guitarist Jess Abbott to pursue a different creative direction through her work as Tancred being the most visibly apparent difference. That parting of ways is only a fraction of the story however. Below the surface lay challenges, struggle, and a lot of growth for KC Dalager and Brad Hale as people, musicians, and songwriters. And while as a duo they find themselves back to the same binary dynamic they started with over a decade ago, they couldn’t be further from who they were when two friends who met at marching band practice and started making music together in a basement.
As they wrapped up nearly three years of writing, recording, and then touring in support of Threads, KC and Brad were mentally and emotionally worn out. “We couldn’t find a way to recharge ourselves creatively,” recalls KC, and that lead to a feedback loop of writer's block and self-doubt. And so they took a step back, focusing their energy on songwriting and producing outside of Now, Now, or with different artistic mediums like Brad’s work in visual art for bands including Sylvan Esso, The National, Minus the Bear and War On Drugs. The break allowed them space to work on figuring out the bigger picture of who they were as artists and musicians, rather than staying trapped in tunnel vision, focused on a next album. “I worked a lot on my craft as a writer,” explains KC, “on learning who I am and what my strengths and weaknesses are in that sense.” She also started tackling longstanding insecurities she’d been battling all her life, clearing barriers to creativity at their root.
When all was said and done Now, Now’s new songs have come out all the better on account of that soul searching experience. Brad learned a lot about production and his own aesthetic while experimenting and exploring behind the boards on other projects, including his solo endeavor Sombear. KC meanwhile now feels a freedom in her songwriting she’d never experienced before, and discovered how to use her singing voice in a way that made her feel good about herself instead of overly self aware. “I feel more confident and more like myself than I ever have,” she relates. Having lived through the fits and starts together, Brad and KC describe their working relationship as more in sync than they’ve ever been before. “Our new songs happened so naturally after we stopped overthinking and started going with our instincts,” says KC. “We learned a lot about each other. More than anything we have learned to trust in ourselves.”