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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Mandala finds RX Bandits in the limelight

    The RX Bandits took the stage for two nights at Club Congress this past weekend and gave Tucson an excuse to rock out. The band is touring in preparation for their new album Mandala that is now set to release July 21. In an odd pairing, the band co-headlined with Dredg and the shows’ opening act was the folksy and uppity music of Good Old War – a band worth checking out if you have yet to hear them.

    With their first co-headlining performance in Tucson, the RX Bandits dealt with a surprisingly low energy show on Saturday. There was a lack of connection to the audience and a rushed atmosphere that took away significantly from the first show. They opened for Dredg Saturday, and that night marked the shorter of their two sets; fans put it aside and the band did what they could. Despite the rushed feeling, the band’s performance was spot-on and left everyone excited for night two. It seemed a bit of low energy between the band and crowd was not going to put anyone off.

    Steve Choi, who plays guitar and piano for the band along with contributing vocally and on the skins, sat down and talked with the Arizona Summer Wildcat.

    “”We’re the anti-genre,”” Choi said, “”(We’re not) ska and prog. If we’re called skaprog, that’s the worse that we could ever hear ever.””

    A fitting statement considering the band’s evolution over the past decade – Mandala is the culmination of a decade’s worth of growth and change. Songs shift from the traditional RX Bandits “”rock-out”” feel, horns included, to a lighter, jazzy twist. The musical ability of each band member is keenly highlighted in a well orchestrated and complex pairing of sounds. The same relatable yet poetic lyrics reign over the album, which is paired well with their musical stylings.

    Choi explained his feelings about the band’s evolution and its personal changes. “”We grew as a band and as individuals, and that helped shaped this new record. It’s hard to have a favorite song because you have the song you loved recording, the one you love performing. … I don’t think I’ll really have one until three or four months from now.””

    He also noted that just because there isn’t a horn player in the band now, that doesn’t mean horns are done for.

    “”It was all due to circumstances,”” Choi said “”We’ll continue to use horns. More horns, new horns. It will be there. They are still on the new record.””

    The band’s evolution was well received and echoed throughout the crowd who could not stop talking about the new album. One group of men attending drove down from Denver to see the band and buy the new CD. These types of fans, who are at every show, are why the band has the ability to burgeon and change. It is the RX Bandits’ ability to keep its essence that keeps the cycle going.

    Even on an off night the band can get the crowd excited to be there. With a longer set on Sunday, fans expected a better, less hurried show – which the RX Bandits delivered. From the second they hit the stage to their finale of “”Only For the Night,”” fans were enthralled. Everyone left happy and fulfilled.

    From the albums to the live performances, the RX Bandits brings a genuine energy that resonates through the music. No matter what genre pop culture forces on the group, the RX Bandits maintains a vibrant and lively quality.

    The band truly connects with its fan base that spans over multiple age groups, from high school kids to high school teachers. It is love that pours out of them as a band, and that love is what fans have been giving back for a decade.

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