On Monday night, X Ambassadors and This Fiction Music presented an inspiring and touching evening with a superb line up at the world famous Troubadour. The event was branded as “A Night Benefiting Reproductive Rights” and let me tell you, speaking as a woman, it is so refreshing to have male artists supporting women’s rights in this way. Last month when the benefit show was announced on the X Ambassadors social media accounts they stated, “We envision a world where all people have the power and resources to care for and affirm their bodies, identities, and health for themselves and their families — in all areas of their lives.”
Hell yeah and thank you. I was already a fan of the band but reading about the event made me like them more. An incredible cause, with all proceeds going to The National Network of Abortion Funds, plus a lineup including artists such as Grandson, Upsahl, Jensen McRae…I knew before stepping foot into the venue that this was going to be a magical night.
So had did this show come to be? As posted on This is Fiction founder Seth Kallen’s social media, “When Roe v. Wade was overturned Sam Harris called me immediately, wanting to use the platform we’ve built with X Ambassadors for positive change.” Seth has worked with the band for over a decade and says what he loves and admires most about them is “they don’t just talk about how to help our country progress, they always take action and use their voices to help those in need.” And indeed this event proved just how much the guys in the band go all in when they believe in a cause- and it also raised $17,000, bravo guys.
The night was hosted by comedian Sandy Honig who did a great job talking about the cause, which can be a pretty heavy topic, but found ways to keep the room filled with positive vibes, sharing jokes and smiles a plenty in between introducing the talent for the night and encouraging guest to buy raffle tickets. (The grand prize was a guitar signed by all the performers, not too shabby).
Now let’s talk about the performers. Wow. Every single act was brilliant. Each artist did short acoustic sets and I swear each one had me on the verge of tears with how sincere and emotive they were. Performers included Rosie, Corook, Jensen McRae, Adam Melchor, Upsahl, Lexi Jayde, Grandson, Wafia, comedian Hannah Einbinder and of course X Ambassadors. That’s A LOT of talent under one roof in one night.
A few standouts of the night were hearing the crowd singing along to Corook’s comforting and reassuring tune “It’s Ok,” or when Jensen McRae told the crowd how she had been a fan of X Ambassadors since she was a teen and that it was a dream come true it was to be playing with them. Grandson performed a new song that he had only played once before this night and he said he wrote it 4 years ago when reproductive rights were starting to be more at risk. I didn’t catch the title but it was a powerful song and performance. Grandson also brought out a surprise guest, Wafia and their duet was beautiful. Upsahl charmed the crowd with her powerful voice and had a sing along moment with the crowd as well during her song “Drugs.” Surprise guests Lexi Jayde captivated the room with her performance and Hannah Einbinder had the crowd giggling with her off the wall humor.
When X Ambassadors took the stage they picked it up a notch, starting the set off with their hit Renegade, which got the crowd dancing along right away. Lead singer Sam was charismatic and spoke to the crowd from his heart, thanking everyone for coming out and for raising $17,000 which would go towards helping those in need to safe access for abortion.
Before launching into a new song called “Your Town”, Sam told the crowd it was written about a friend who passed away. While telling the story, he got choked up and we all felt it, but shedding a tear or two at this event felt safe with the environment created. The vulnerability Sam puts into his show makes a deep connection with the audience. A sweet moment was when Sam told the crowd he was playing a guitar that used to be his Mom’s, then told the crowd both of his parents were in attendance, as he looked towards the balcony to shout out his Mom, then to the side of the stage to banter with his Dad. X Ambassadors brought out artist Pame’ for the haunting ballad, Unsteady. It was a beautiful performance and I couldn’t help but wonder how his parents must feel when hearing the song, which was partially written about their divorce, and watching their sons’ (keyboardist Casey is Sam’s brother) perform such a sensitive song in front of them. Like I said before, it was a safe space to feel things and I’m certain by this point, everyone in the room was in their feels.
It was such a great show and one I’ll certainly remember fondly for a lifetime. It’s so important to women to have men speak up for this cause and work in solidarity. As Sam said on stage, “As a son, an ally, a husband and a friend, I’m honored to be here fighting a worthy cause.” Thank you for this night X Ambassadors and This Fiction.
Words and photos by Betsy Martinez