RX Bandits @ Clarkston Christian Association, MI

Live Reviews | Jun 23rd, 2003

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Opening Bands:
Date: June 23rd, 24th
Venue: Clarkston Christian Association, MI

This week I had the privilege of seeing the RX Bandits, not once but twice. Monday the 23rd and Tuesday the 24th, they played back to back shows in the Metro Detroit area. Monday night’s show took place at the Clarkston Christian Association, and it was actually an amazing show. The venue had decent sound for what it is, and had separate rooms for pool, ping-pong, a skate park, and plenty of couches.

This was my 4th time seeing the Bandits, and I was definitely impressed, as were my friends who’d never even heard of the band. In my opinion they are one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen. They transfer between songs effortlessly, and Chris Tsagakis is THE most energetic drummer I’ve ever seen, and one of the most talented. It was refreshing, because you never knew what song would come next, every song was started by what seemed like an improvised dub-reggae jam; with singer Matt Embree doing what can only be described as political neo-scat over top. Ranting on subjects such as war and the impossible standards society bombards us with. Surprisingly, it was neither overbearing nor preachy, and I don’t think the message was lost even though the average age of the crowd was probably 16 or 17. All in all, an amazing show.

Tuesday night provided more of the same, but with a far more energetic crowd in a smaller area. The heat and humidity didn’t seem to stop the crowd though, as they went wild for most of the set. Steve Borth and Chris Sheets both played amazing solos on Tenor Sax and Trombone, respectively. And I’d be remiss if I neglected to mention the phenomenal job done by bassist Joe Troy and keyboard/guitar player Steve Choi, these guys are both incredible musicians, they are the reason the RX Bandits sound so multifaceted and complex. Talking to another friend that was hearing them for the first time we tried classifying the band. RX Bandits are normally placed in the ska genre.

I am a huge ska fan, being involved in a skaband and all, but the RX Bandits transcend ska. We decided upon dub reggae-core… Sound strange? Well that’s the only way I could describe it to the uninformed. A captivating upbeat part of the time and raucous distorted guitar dominating the choruses and bridges, with organ filling out the sound. A very experimental unique style. I’d like to thank the guys for putting on these 2 shows for their fans here in Michigan, only I’d love to ask them a little favor, next time PLEASE play Status and Band-Aid; both are amazing songs I’ve never heard you play. The whole band was extremely friendly after the show even when we stayed far later then the other fans and bothered the merch guy when he should have been working. Thanks Bandits.


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