Rx Bandits

Rx Bandits: live in Washington, DClive in Washington, DC (2003)
live show

Reviewer Rating: 4.5

Contributed by: krowdsurfkrowdsurf
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Ok, right off the bat let me say that I went to this show just to see the Rx Bandits, so if you're a big fan of any of the supporting acts you may want to turn away now or risk being offended by my terrible coverage of those bands. Sound good? Alright, let's move along... I was REALLY looking f.

Ok, right off the bat let me say that I went to this show just to see the Rx Bandits, so if you're a big fan of any of the supporting acts you may want to turn away now or risk being offended by my terrible coverage of those bands. Sound good? Alright, let's move along...

I was REALLY looking forward to this as it was at my favorite venue, it featured the Rx Bandits, one of my favorite bands, and it had been a long time since I'd been to a decent show. The last one I'd been to was (ready your best insults) the 2003 Civic Tour with Good Charlotte, New Found Glory, Less Than Jake and Hot Rod Circuit. I went to that show just to see LTJ, as I've never missed them any time they've been in the Virginia/DC area in 7 years. I wasn't going to let Good Charlotte, New Found Glory, and a screaming mob of 13 year olds and their parents stop me. That bit of information may seem to have no relevance to this review, but in a way it does. In case you can't figure out the obvious, it makes a WORLD of difference seeing a band in a small club rather than a 3,000 seat stadium. I love Less Than Jake, I think they are the best live band I've ever seen, but seeing them in that atmosphere killed any sense of intimacy or effect they have as a live band. Walking into the 9:30 Club for this show, being back in a small setting with a small crowd, the bands no more than 20ft away, was quite a refreshing feeling. I showed up about 20 minutes late, walking in during Steel Train's last song.

I didn't list Steel Train as being on this bill as I only saw them for 3/4 of one song, so I didn't think it would be fair to say I really "saw" them. I'm going to say this though, based on that one song, they are the most boring, listless, unentertaining band ever. If I'm wrong, by all means please correct me as I'm really basing this on 3 minutes of performance, but for a closing song, it almost put me to sleep. The lead singer just stood there, clutching himself insecurely like he'd been depantsed in front of the whole crowd 5 minutes earlier. His singing was very soft and unemotional. The only thing that remotely interested me was the fact the singer had a xylophone next to him on stage. You don't see those at punk shows everyday. However, unless the Beastie Boys rushed the stage and launched into "Girls" I don't really think I missed anything. Score: 0

Next up was Fairweather. My roommate who came to the show is in a local band and loves Fairweather. He's played with them a couple of times I guess and swore to me they would sonically assault my ass. He overstated it, but they were pretty good. I noticed one of the guitar players was Ben Green, a kid who went to my high school. That plus the amount of crowd support they had leads me to believe they are from this area because more than a handful of kids were going especially crazy. They were very energetic and put on a pretty good show. The lead singer kept holding the mic out to the crowd for sing alongs and random people were frequently jumping on and off the stage. One thing I would recommend to future stage divers: when you get on stage, don't run up behind the singer and repeatedly tap him on the back to get him to hand you the mic. I'm pretty sure that does nothing but confuse him. That happend at least three times during Fairweather's set and each time the guy singing just looked like "What the fuck is going on?" as he tried to turn around and find out why people were slapping him from behind. He was a big dude too, so cut him some slack, he's got a lot of blind spots. Anyway, the only song title I caught was Lusitania, which I believe they said was also the name of their forthcoming album. I have no idea what they sound like on cd, but I'd give them a chance as their show was a good time. Score: 7

After Fairweather came No Motiv. I don't know what happend, but the crowd just died at this point. I give the band props for trying hard to get the crowd going, but after awhile it was just kind of painful to watch. The bass player would start clapping, trying to get the crowd to join in. That pretty much tanked. After a couple of tries a couple kids joined in, whether it be out of pity or because they were fans will remain one of life's mysteries. Musically, I wasn't too into them. Maybe it's where I was standing, but to me it sounded like the only things plugged in were the lead singer/guitarists mic and guitar, and the drums. I couldn't hear the bass, I couldn't hear any of the backing vocals. Their sound was much too trebly, to the point where it was annoying. It's sad, because they did try, but the lack of enthusiasm on the part of the crowd and the bad sound just turned me off. I'd have to give them another shot to really make up my mind on them. Score:5

The Rx Bandits. I love this band so much, so I'll freely admit I'm biased. Progress is one of my favorite albums of all time, and about 1/3 of Halfway Between Here and There I feel is great, the other 2/3 sounds like a mediocre Reel Big Fish album, but it's still good. I saw the Bandits at last years Warped Tour and really really enjoyed what they did just in that 30 minute set, so I was dying to see what they'd pull off as headliners. They didn't disappoint. Say what you will about ska being dead, or Drive Thru records being a machine that mass produces commerical pop-rock, the Rx Bandits are undeniably talented. Honestly, the highest compliment I can give to this band is that they are just damn talented musicians. They came out to little fanfare, no banner, no intro music, no fancy lights or smoke machine. Trombonist Chris Sheets just grabbed the mic and said "Are you guys ready to dance with us? To sing with us? To have a good time?" Matt Embree added "Be respectful to each other out there" and off they went. The crowd immediately blew the fuck up. I thought they may have all zombified after No Motiv, but the whole place came alive after the first note. Skanking, moshing, crowd surfing, it was on. The band never let up for a second. I honestly don't think there was a single second of the whole show where they stopped playing other than the two times they paused to introduce new songs. Rather than crack lame jokes or go into some VH1 Storytellers shit about how a song came to be they would just jam from song to song. That was what impressed me most. Their songs didn't end, they just expanded into something new, Matt Embree freestyling lyrics, the rest of the band jamming along, before gradually building up to the next song. Even the established songs had added horn solos or little lyrical changes that gave them so much freshness and life beyond the recorded versions. Their sound was definitely on point, which helped all these little nuances stand out. Matt Embree is a damn good singer I must also point out. He reminds me a lot of Brad Nowell from Sublime, which to me, is a high compliment. His singing is certainly passionate, although the band as a whole was incredibly energetic. Most everything off of Progress was played, from VCG3, Analog Boy, Status and get to the slower reggae tunes such as Babylong and All Rwanda's Glory. Sell You Beautiful, the new song that was on this site for awhile, sounded decent to me when I downloaded it, but it is much better live. They've added horns and made it sound much more like an Rx Bandits song rather than the typical pop-punk that is all over the radio. They also played The Resignation, the title track off the new album. This is more of a slow burning reggae song, which I was thrilled to hear as I would hate to see the Bandits distance themselves from the old sound I love so much. Ok, I've rambled on and on, I know and I apologize. I'll close with this, you may think you hate ska, you may think you hate reggae, but if you are a fan of not just punk, but music in general, I urge you to give this band a chance. If the music itself doesn't move you, maybe the energy and talent on display will. Fuck, it's only $10, go to this show if it comes to your town!


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (February 18, 2004)

the rx bandits are the only shred or even crumb that drive-thru has to offer...don't pass them up and don't be biased b/c they are on drive-thru. respect that they are not idols or cut-outs...they are the real fucking deal..they are musicians.

RyanTMurphy (June 18, 2003)

This guy in this band I booked once, Race The Sun, is a Fairweather fan and described his band as sounding like them. Come to think of it...he lives in Richmond...hmm...

GregSka (June 18, 2003)

Oh man, Rx Bandits completely blew away almost everyone at the Ottawa show! They played a ton of wicked songs, I hope they come back again!

Anonymous (June 16, 2003)

Rx Bandits is good,but damn Matt needs to put the drugs down. I've seen him a couple of times where he can barely stand cause he's so damn high. Also I'm glad they don't play too much of thier old stuff. It's shit. Progress is their best cd.

Sara(no h)

Anonymous (June 16, 2003)

Guy below me: Yeah, not as much popularity as your awesome band.

Anonymous (June 16, 2003)

My band played with RX Bandits back in 97 and I never would have believed their second-rate pop-punk-ska would ever garner them any popularity after the ska bubble burst back in the late 90s.

Anonymous (June 15, 2003)

Ive been lucky enough to see them play it all three times ive seenthem in az, there is also a video of the song on bandvideo.tk So check that out, im surprised they didnt play it wen you all saw them

Anonymous (June 15, 2003)

"Raise your hand if you love the song "mastering the list" I DO!"

YEAH!!! I will most definitely raise my fist for that one, has anyone ever heard them play it live?

Anonymous (June 15, 2003)

I really enjoyed the xylophone...

Anonymous (June 15, 2003)

Steel train is not like your normal drive-thru band and i guess that why i like them, they have a difrent vibe when you see them live, its one of the bands that takes time to like, i thought they sucked the first time i saw them but its art!

Anonymous (June 15, 2003)

i saw this show in ct and steel train were AMAZING. they're a great band and it's really sad to see them get booed all the time. they should be touring with Phish or the Disco Biscuits or something if they want to make a good living, because all the narrowed minded "punk" fucks think it's cool to boo themduring their set.
fairweather was exactly the same as the last time i saw them, and did not really impress.
no motiv i thought was great, although you couldn't really hear jeremy's vocals. but they did play a great mixture of material.
the rxbandits owned. the crowd went crazy. no stuff was played from "those damn bandits" though, but a great set comprised of a couple new songs, a few off halfway, and the core of the set from progress.
overall a great night and definitely worth the price. go see this tour!

Anonymous (June 14, 2003)

Rxbandits are amazing, i live in az and they come here everyother month almost. Raise your hand if you love the song "mastering the list" I DO!

Anonymous (June 14, 2003)

Steel Train is complete and utter shit.

Anonymous (June 14, 2003)

Steel Train blew me away that night. I love that crazy funk jam music. And this comes from a huge Steel Train shit-talker. I don't get it. the live show left me appluding, but i hear their samples on DTR's website, it sounds like a completley different band. Also their voices suck live or taped. just don't sing, guys. If they can do what they do live in the studio i'd be a big fan. RxB put their jams to shame later that night anyway

I completely agree with you. I had heard several songs from Steel Train prior to seeing them and thought they were nothing special. Live, they were so much better. It's too bad they don't sound good recorded.

Anonymous (June 14, 2003)

I saw fairweather once with some other band called open mouth or hand or some shit like that. Anyways, i realized i was watching a bunch of grown men cry about about girls and said 'fuck this gayness' and went 5 blocks down and caught the bright eyes show. Now that was stellar. The bruces opened up with conors on bass and it was kick ass. Why does conors get lumped into the whole emo shit scene? Odd.

Anonymous (June 14, 2003)

kudos to the review. Rx Bandits turned New Jersey upside-down, it was awesome. I have not gone to a show in almost a year and the big reason was cuz the kids here in NJ suddenly started to suck. Too many fights, or too litle reaction to bands. RxB not only drew a huge crowd and shamed away all the crowdsurfers in the first ten minutes, but actually got everyone in the club *gasp* dancing! dancing to ska music! I never thought i'd see the day. Also two drummers for the encore, sweet sassy molassy!

Fairweather: i love that band. They fit well with RxB because they are the two most wrongly accused bands of punknews.org history! RxB mall punk!? Fairweather saves the day ripoffs?! They played a great set. The crowd reacted well to "Letter of Intent" but not to the lenghty "listuania" which was full of false endings, very annoying. During the set a drunk guy and another guy fighting were thrown out. Great, two less assholes to fuck of a perfect show

No Motiv was crap. I watched the Nets game with a group of kids during their set. Eventually RxB put up a note next to the tv that read "you paid $10 to watch this show, don't let TV take your mind" Correction, i paid $10 for RxB and Fairweather (well $12 including that parking garbage). Not for No Motiv. Also it's the Nets! They represent my home state! Give me a radio, show me a puppet show of the game, i can care less if it's on tv. So right message, wrong time. sorry RxB.

Steel Train blew me away that night. I love that crazy funk jam music. And this comes from a huge Steel Train shit-talker. I don't get it. the live show left me appluding, but i hear their samples on DTR's website, it sounds like a completley different band. Also their voices suck live or taped. just don't sing, guys. If they can do what they do live in the studio i'd be a big fan. RxB put their jams to shame later that night anyway

Anonymous (June 14, 2003)

Eww....I don't think I'd like that beast from Fairweather to "sonically assault my ass".


Anonymous (June 14, 2003)

This was a good show. I was there. I had a grey Thrice shirt on. Anyway, I would like to say that Steel Train was aweful. They had a good guitarist but holy shit they were god aweful. They were like Dave Matthews band but shittier.
Fairweather was really good and so was No Motiv but for some reason noboyd was moving during No Motiv. My friend had to start a pit during their set. They should not have played so many new songs (even though they sounded great) and played more songs off of Diagram for healing (To The Roots, Celebrate maybe)
i had to leave halfway through rx bandits. They were good but I don't like ska.
Oh 9:30 is a cool venue.

Anonymous (June 14, 2003)

Crap, I just did the previous comment. I forgot to mention, the lead singer of Steel Train was stoned out of his gourd. That could explain his seemingly apathetic tendencies.

Anonymous (June 14, 2003)

Okay. I was at this show. A few things to start off with:
Steel Train: wrong.
Fairweather: right
No Motive: right.
RX Bandits: absolutely right.

I really apologize that you had to miss Steel Train's set. Unfortunately you came in at the worst spot, the end, oddly enough. About 6 songs in, the lead guitarist switched to the acoustic. Nevertheless, that guitarist is a god. It was such a breath of fresh air to be able to go to show that I intended to be of a certain style, and be pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately, Steel Train's album continues in this blase acoustic trend. My advice: wait until an electric LP comes out.

Fairweather: My favorite local band. I've "gone" to three of their shows, only to have the terribly bad luck of walking into the venue just as they were walking on stage. I've had their first album, "If they move, kill them," since the day it was released. Needless to say, I had been waiting for this moment for a long time.

No Motiv: The lead singer was more enjoyable to talk to after the show than to listen to onstage. I had just returned from a cross country road trip to Southern California, but he thought that the whole reason we went out their was to stay in Oxnard, CA (their home town). Was he wrong.

RX Bandits: I don't even need to comment. One thing: I respect Matt Embree so much. During the middle of the show, when he realized that kids were getting hurt in the pit, he said, "If you came here to fight, go home."

Oh yeah, 930 club is one of the coolest venues in DC. I just wish they hadn't closed all the other small venues for punk bands back in 2000.

Anonymous (June 14, 2003)

the 930 club is such a medicore venue! Good sound. bad people

Kurt_F (June 14, 2003)

This was a good review. You were pretty fair to the other bands, and the coverage was still good.

No Motiv is pretty neat, as cliche as they are. Give them another chance, they've gone through many sound changes.

I love Fairweather and I love the RX Bandits. I'm seeing this tour in July.

To the guy who asked what wave we are on: I'd say either the fourth or fifth, seriously.

Anonymous (June 13, 2003)

bahahaha, best review in ages

GregSka (June 13, 2003)

I'm glad this review was made, I'll be seeing these guys on tuesday and I wanted to know what to expect. Should be fun!

Anonymous (June 13, 2003)

meh i liked the rx bandits old stuff the fun skapunk, and halfway between there and back didnt sound like a "typical reel big fish cd" the rx bandits best songs came off of that910 seconds never seemed so long,this time, walk away)

Anonymous (June 13, 2003)

Fairweather is for pussies

Anonymous (June 13, 2003)

I saw this tour and Rx Bandits brought the fucking house down...the other bands were really, really bad and felt very out of place. The crowd was pretty non existent until the Bandits came out.

Anonymous (June 13, 2003)

i probly woulda left this show before rx bandits went on stage... but then again i probly wouldn't have had anything better to do so i'd still stay and watch

Anonymous (June 13, 2003)

I feel as if I'm alone in saying this, but I really enjoyed Steel Train live. The latin and jazz components that are present (and very enjoyable) in their live show don't show up on their record. It's a shame.

The Rx Bandits were excellent. I just saw this show last night.

Anonymous (June 13, 2003)

Why is it that everyone who puts a review on this damn site has to feel insecure about what they are listening to? Every review is almost apologetic!

Whats wrong with you people?

Anonymous (June 13, 2003)

no sir, you are correct, steel train is probably one of the top 5 worst cd's i've ever heard in my life, and i can't even imagine it live.


sk8punx4evr (June 13, 2003)

what older songs did fairweather play? and did they have their e.p. for sale?

Anonymous (June 13, 2003)

No Motiv's big mistake was playing their emo side on a not so emo bill.

But Fairweather was absolutely fuckin worth all the money payed. Good mix of old and new songs. Would've been nice if they had the new CD on sale..

Actually, there was just one kid that kept going up there and tapping him on his shoulder for the mic. That kid got dropped the 3rd time he stage dove after doing that.

Kevin11 (June 13, 2003)

Can someone tell me what wave of ska we are on? we've gotta be in the teens by now.

lunchbox (June 13, 2003)

what a long review but a good one

sk8punx4evr (June 13, 2003)

pretty good review, i'm seeing this show tonight.

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