Review + Photos: Sam Nelson an ‘Ambassador’ for Compelling Solo Show in LA

Sam Nelson at the Moroccan Lounge - Photo by Julie Ann Shaw

Sam Nelson Solo Tour
Moroccan Lounge, Los Angeles

Photos and Review by JULIE ANN SHAW

LOS ANGELES – There are very few people in the world who can stand alone on a stage with only a guitar and their voice and be able to fill the entire venue with a euphoric sense of calm. Sam Nelson, the lead singer of X Ambassadors, is one such person. To promote his brand new solo album Why Does Everything Make Me Cry?, Nelson hit the road and stopped off at a little venue in Los Angeles, and the city is all the better for it.

Sam Nelson – Photos by Julie Ann Shaw

Nelson opened with “Forever, Now,” and it became clear from the very start that Nelson truly loves what he does and all of his fans. I honestly couldn’t tell who was having a better time, Nelson or the crowd. Or me. It was me.

Nelson moved on to “Crash” to the absolute delight of the crowd, none of whom missed a single word as they sang along with him throughout the entire show.

Sam Nelson performs solo – Photos by Julie Ann Shaw

Nelson proudly took a minute to announce that he recently had his Bar Mitzvah (Mazel Tov, Sam, thrilled to have you in the Tribe), before continuing his set with “Battery Acid,” “Give Me Hell” and “The Idiot.” It was absolutely beautiful.

Some of us know that one person who no matter how old they get, they just can’t seem to get their life together. Some of us are that person. Nelson has one such friend and performed a song he wrote specifically for this friend, “Upstate Boys,” which flowed seamlessly into “Friends For Life.” Of course Nelson would throw a few X Ambassadors’ songs into the mix and the first was “Alcohol.” 

Sam Nelson – Photo by Julie Ann Shaw

The set continued withWhen Love Has Gone,” X Ambassadors’ “Home,” “Why Does Everything Make Me Cry?,” and “Leave Flowers.”

The next few songs were all X Ambassadors’ songs that I have loved for years, “Twisted” and “Renegades.” However, it was his performance of “Unsteady” that really moved me. I’m not saying that he made me cry a little, but he absolutely made me cry a little with just his voice. The final song of the night was X’s 2011 “Litost.”

Sam Nelson – All photos by Julie Ann Shaw

Nelson proved throughout his set that not only is he just fun on stage, going back and forth with the audience, but that he is a powerhouse that could fill the venue with his voice without the microphone. I can not overstate how remarkable of a performer Sam Nelson really is. His voice fills your entire being and leaves a lasting mark on your soul. 

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