Atlanta Music Scene

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X Ambassadors mix rock with sports at Super Bowl 2017 'Opening Night'

BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene

HOUSTON – On paper, X Ambassadors don’t seem to be the most obvious choice of band to keep a stadium full of fans and media sufficiently pre-occupied in between the changing of signage from Atlanta Falcons’ players to New England Patriots’ ones.

But at the Monday “Opening Night” celebration, during which players from both teams were trotted out (separately) to field questions from a pack of journalists asking legit questions about preparation and schemes and coverage and idiotic ones about the boyfriends of various Kardashian sisters, the quartet from upstate New York came prepared with their finest two “sports” songs.

Nope, there was no “Renegades” to be heard – that would have been much too folksy for this crowd at Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston.

Instead, singer Sam Harris led X Ambassadors through the roaring “Jungle,” a song from the band’s 2015 debut, “VHS,” which has been used in TV shows (“Orange is the New Black,” “Blacklist”), video games (“Battlefield Hardline”) and commercials (Beats By Dre) – so of course it was an ideal match at a sports gathering.

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By pairing “Jungle” with “Collider,” a song identified by a repetitive wail from Harris and a serrated guitar riff provided on record by Tom Morello, X Ambassadors reinforced their sports rock cred: “Collider” has been used on ESPN throughout college football season.

Next stop, the NBA All-Star Game?

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About the Author

Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers the Atlanta Music Scene and entertainment news for print and online.

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