Spend a night with the RX Bandits

Photo courtesy of RX Bandits. From left, Mathew Embree, Steve Choi, Joseph Troy, Christopher Tsagakis.

Photo courtesy of RX Bandits. From left, Mathew Embree, Steve Choi, Joseph Troy, Christopher Tsagakis.

Ali Freedman

Need a stay-cation? Take one with RX Bandits (from Seal Beach, Calif.) and Dredg (from Los Gatos, Calif.) who will be setting up shop at Club Congress for a two-night concert event. Both bands will take the stage July 11 and 12 with doors opening at 6 p.m. The co-headlining tour means the bands will get equal time on the stage after an opening by the fledging band Good Old War. With the flip of a coin they’ll decide who plays first on Saturday night and switch it up on Sunday, thus ensuring equal stage time.

The ever-evolving RX Bandits will be showing off their ever-changing musical stylings to the Tucson crowd. Although most consider the band a ska-inspired indie rock act, their evolution over the past decade of music making will be more obvious than ever on this new tour. The quartet has taken to a new rock-oriented sound that has begun to focus more on a harmonious use of the band’s many instruments, guitar and keyboard included, rather than focusing on the horns that dominated their former style. While the classic RX Bandits sound is still there, their evolution into something new and less ska-esque is undeniable.

The RX Bandits have managed to shift their sound without many of the negative repercussions well-established bands have encountered when their signature sound is tweaked. When the band emerged from high school and was signed to its first record label, Drive-Thru Records, they could not have expected the decade they had ahead of them. They found great success in a more underground music scene while successfully reinventing their style to the adoration of their fans.

The RX Bandits are reemerging as an indie rock force to be reckoned with and this tour will be key to their reintroduction. While many fans have mourned the loss of the horn-heavy former sound, their symphonic new look at how music is composed and paired with vocals shows a more mature and adept group of musicians. Their keen eye for musical evolution has created a progressive band that can bring their brand of socially and politically conscious music to a fan base that continues to expand.

But wait, there’s more. RX Bandits new album Mandala will be released July 28, making this tour something of a CD release event. The RX Bandits often travel through Tucson and shows tend to sell out. Go get your ticket and arrive early to ensure your spot. Tickets can be purchased before the show at Club Congress for $17.50 in advance and $18 days of shows. While the price tag may seem a bit hefty, keep in mind you’re getting two shows for the price of one. The show is sure to bring Tucsonans some cool relief to the hot summer nights with these two bands’ own mixes of progressive alternative music. Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., (520) 622-8848.

Can’t attend? Monsoon has you covered. Look for an exclusive interview with the RX Bandits next week and review of the new CD and what may turn out to be an epic two-night concert event.