They look unwashed, unshaven, lazy and listless.
They're wearing what looks like the same clothes they pulled on days ago.
They resemble Austin street-hippy people.
If you're looking to get your money's worth out of a 20+ dollar ticket, you can get discouraged pretty quickly, watching California's RX Bandits walk onstage.
If it's your first time.
'Cause then the band starts to play. Picture the Red Hot Chili Peppers before commercial fame tainted their concentrated, sweaty, songwriting intensity.
The Rx Bandits, however, are much more progressive, creative, and cerebral than the guys who wrote "True Men Dont Kill Coyotes" ever were. And last night's Dallas audience couldn't stand still when the Bandits ignited their Bloc Party-ish riffs, and raw kinetic energy. To describe the room as vibrant is an impotent and underrated attempt; rather, the room jumps like drops of water added to a red hot pancake griddle. The melodies reach and explore far beyond the ska-pigeonhole the band was quickly stamped with four LPs ago, and the members reach for bending, twisted notes that only a skilled artist could pull off without sounding atrociously underqualified.
At times (despite their scratchy bird-nest beards, dirty thrift store fashions, and generally unenthusiastic first impression appearance), the Rx Bandits literally seemed to be trying to jump out of their skin when they played. It helped that they were hammering, warping, and mangling a ton of onstage percussion instruments. And that they break things down into long, freeform progressive jams highlighted by guitarist Steve Choi's exceptional electric piano skills, racing turbo-tiptoe fingers up the scale and back again, accented with rhythm section sonic-booms, and crashes you can feel under your ribcage.
Unsurprisingly, they were consistently met with roars of approval loud enough to drown out any mundane, mouth-to-ear conversation.
This is not a band to be digested light-heartedly, or washed down with a fucking Fiji water. This is a band with an undefinable genre, and a force of prog rock chemistry to be reckoned with. You cant help but but drink something stronger, and shout out in between songs. Most importantly, you cant help but pay attention.
Essentially: The RX Bandits soared tonight at The Granada Theatre
By The Way: Rx Bandits proudly displayed the intricate cover art that will appear on their new release, Mandala, on two flanking stage screens--and the band was nice enough to offer up the new CD for early sale at the show.
Random Note: Dredg was commendable, but suffered technical problems with the vocals, lacked the burn and chemistry the audience had been subjected to beforehand by the Bandits, and have a glaring awkwardness in their mix of musician personalities. Comparitively anticlimatic.