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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    RX Bandits will ‘rock your face off’

    Chris Tsagakis, Steven Borth, Steve Choi, Matt Embree, Joe Troy and Chris Sheets of the RX Banidts flash their photos.
    Chris Tsagakis, Steven Borth, Steve Choi, Matt Embree, Joe Troy and Chris Sheets of the RX Banidts flash their photos.

    “”It’s like birds chirping in the back of my head,”” said RX Bandits lead singer Matt Embree. “”All I know is I have to get the music out.””

    Since their emergence nearly a decade ago, the RX Bandits have become one of the most invigorating and genre-challenging bands in rock. Growing from their 2001 album Progress, the band has branched beyond traditional limitations, cultivating new sounds and bringing a fresh experimental style to today’s fans.

    Audiences are finally starting to catch up to the Bandits’ sound. Last year’s show at Club Congress sold out and left ticketless fans peering through the venue’s windows and dancing on the sidewalk during the show. For their show at the end of the month with Gym Class Heroes and P.O.S., the Bandits will cross the street to the Rialto Theatre, ready to rock the faces of an even bigger crowd.

    Lead singer and guitarist Embree helped create the band while still in high school in Southern California. The Bandits are known for incorporating a strong emotional and political rhetoric into their songs, but their roots, more than anything, have influenced where the band is today.

    “”The terrain that physically surrounds you, it affects the culture around (you) and it affects you as a person,”” Embree said. “”Being near the ocean was really influential. I learned to swim in the ocean and surf. Being with the waves, it’s like jamming with the earth.””

    Current events also influence the band’s musical direction.

    “”It just happens,”” Embree said. “”There’s been times when I’ve heard and read something and was really sad or angry or surprised or happy. Certain feeling and specific events play into the feeling.””

    Embree and other band members have also begun to produce a profusion of side projects. Since starting the worker-owned and operated project MDB Records from his mom’s garage, he has seen it blossom into a successful indie record label. In 2004 Embree, former RX Bandits trombonist Chris Balling and current drummer Chris Tsagakis helped formed the experimental jam band The Sound of Animals Fighting. The current lineup also includes other artists from bands like Circa Survive, The Autumns and Days Away. Last year’s sophomore album, Lover, The Lord Has Left Us… has received an abundance of critical praise. A rare set of live shows recorded at the Las Vegas House of Blues is set to be released on DVD later this year.

    The Bandits are easy to catch live – if you can find tickets. The group usually books a show in Tucson every year and loves coming to town.

    “”Arizona is like a second homecoming for us,”” Embree said. “”Like, I still remember our old scrappy days out there. It was the first place on the road to really embrace us.””

    Catch the RX Bandits Saturday at the Rialto Theatre with the Gym Class Heroes, P.O.S., K-Os and Last Act of Defiance. Tickets to the show are $13.50 and $15 the day of the show. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show stars at 7:30. The Bandits are the fourth act to hit the stage.

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