Punknews.org

Rx Bandits / I Am the Avalanche

Rx Bandits / I Am the Avalanche: live in Farmingdalelive in Farmingdale (2006)
Mash Down Babylon

Reviewer Rating: 3.5


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

On the day of a concert on Long Island, breaking news came from the camp of the Rx Bandits: Saxophone player Steve Borth left the band, purportedly to pursue his own musical interests. However, as the news section of the site said, the show will go on, and you will all be rocked. And rocked they wer.


On the day of a concert on Long Island, breaking news came from the camp of the Rx Bandits: Saxophone player Steve Borth left the band, purportedly to pursue his own musical interests. However, as the news section of the site said, the show will go on, and you will all be rocked. And rocked they were.

The progressive ska-punk band Rx Bandits headlined a bill of quite eclectic tastes. Desa, a band that rose from the ashes of a previous band featuring Steve Borth (Link 80) opened the show. Their straight-ahead post-punk would have been a worthy opening band had it not been for the vocals, which were from this side of New Found Glory and the Starting Line. One could hear a clear Bandits influence in the stop-start riffage and stomping drums, but the vocals compromised any push for greatness.

Next was Men, Women, and Children, a disco, dance-punk novelty act. Featuring an eccentric front-man that looks, acts, and sings like Glassjaw's Daryl Palumbo, this band is what Palumbo hinted at with his debut album from Head Automatica. The band was dressed for the part, fully inviting the image cast upon them. Their stage set included laser lights, bubbles, choreographed dances, and constant requests to "get up on the dance floor." During the song "Monkey Monkee Men," front-man TJ Penzone tried to get the whole crowd involved by having it sing the chorus "We're Monkeys, we're monkeys, we're monkeys!" This largely worked, and the band reveled in its cheesiness by bringing out a large bone, people in monkey masks, and someone in a banana suit. One can make the argument that the act of having the crowd yell "we're monkeys" together is a backhanded political statement that people, like monkeys, cooperate when trained to do so, but a novelty act is not up for such high praise and curveball antics.

Following MWC, Brooklyn-based indie/hardcore band I Am the Avalanche took to the stage. Having a large Long Island fanbase aided their performance; the crowd became increasingly raucous and involved with the added intensity of IATA's music. Some moshing ensued, and front-man Vinny Caruana responded well. He had an underrated stage presence, jumping around the stage with a mic in hand, getting the crowd more involved. Oddly, however, the biggest highlights of the set were a cover and the debut of a new song. The cover, a rehashing of Fugazi's "Waiting Room" was chaotic, noisy, and crowd-infused -- everything that a Fugazi song should be. The new song, "Polar Beast" featured the greatest sound dynamics and time changes of the set. The crowd was subdued, but it allowed the band to premiere its new material to a crowd with an unquenchable thirst for I Am the Avalanche.

Finally, after a long intermission, the Rx Bandits came out to a packed and cheering crowd. Lead guitarist and vocalist Matt Embree was upfront about the missing member, and pleaded for more crowd participation to help him cope with the loss of Borth. "We need you to sing more to fill his large void," he said. Instantly, the crowd was mesmerized. Opening with the rollicking "Sell You Beautiful," Embree tried his best to keep the fans from remembering that Borth was missing, but try as he might, Borth was an integral part of the band, and he will sorely be missed.

After each song, Embree and drummer Christopher Tsagakis would lead a cerebral jam session, something not associated with most ska bands. This jam session, a staple of Bandits' performances, always features the drummers from the other performers. Tours are a family affair according to the Bandits, and they say that everyone should be involved. The drumming is the core of the Rx Bandits sound, founded upon the wizardry of Tsagakis, and furthered by the frenzied sessions involving two, three, and even four percussionists on the stage at once. Embree is always one for noodling with his guitar, and this show was no different. He embodies the idealism of the "hippie" movement, without being caught in the trappings of its detractions. The art of performance appears to be something spiritual to him as he hops, skips, and jumps around when soloing, riffing, and noodling. Embree often has call-and-answer sessions between songs along with the jams, having the crowd repeat his vocal acrobatics as he keeps a groove going along with heavy drumming and loud, fuzzy bass.

The set itself relied heavily on the Bandit's most recent release The Resignation, but it also included a couple tracks off its previous release Progress and some new songs of its upcoming album, â?¦And the Battle Begun. The songs were balanced between soft and loud, rocking and balladry. Highlights included the aforementioned "Sell You Beautiful" and "Mastering the List" off Resignation, "Consequential Apathy" and "Who Would've Thought?" off Progress and the new track "Only for the Night." Each had their own unique energy and vibe, aided and abetted by the most accessible of front-men, Matt Embree.

After a seemingly short set (it was actually about 60 minutes) the headlining band left the stage to loud cheering. The crowd did not expect the set to end so soon. Even more dejected was the crowd when the announcer came back on the speakers. "Do you wanna hear one more?" he asked. Loud cheering ensued; Tsagakis and bassist Joseph Troy return to the stage. They play the opening drum 'n' bass line to "Overcome (The Recapitulation)" -- the most recognizable song off Resignation. The crowd instantly took up the infectious and repeating chorus: "We've had enough of these politicians' wars / What we need right now is love / We've had enough of their military scoreboards / What we need right now is love." Embree and the rest of the band took the stage for a three-song encore in all, closing with the hardest live track, "Decrescendo." The band left the stage for the final time, waving to the thoroughly pleased crowd, destined for their next show.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Against Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseKreayshawn - Somethin' 'Bout Kreay'Converge - No HeroesDarker My Love - Darker My LoveThe Living End - State of EmergencyAgainst Me! - Americans Abroad!!! Against Me!!! Live in London!!!Folly - Resist ConvenienceEvery Time I Die - Gutter PhenomenonThe Misfits - Collection IIThe Aquabats - The Fury Of...

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
ConsequentialBanditry (July 7, 2006)

Again, point taken about DESA members. I took that from allmusic.com. One cannot dispute the high-pitched whine that came from the vocalist, however. I will not have my position assailed by offended fans; this is what I observed and heard, and thus wrote. DESA vocals were much better at Bowery, and that is because you couldn't hear them.

Dante3000 (July 6, 2006)

It might be fair to note that not all DESA is former Link-80. Also, I don't get the New Found Glory thing, but that's just me.
-Dante

Anonymous (July 5, 2006)

This show was awesome. Borth was sorely missed though. The horn parts definitely need the sax.

It's just too bad the Crazy Donkey is such a terrible venue.

baseball (July 5, 2006)

i'm glad i got to see them in what turned out to be one of the last shows before their member left...one of the best live bands around

new album is top 3 of what i've heard this year by far along with Oh! Calcutta and Gold Record

consequentialbanditry (July 5, 2006)

The album is excellent musically, and seems especially pained lyrically. I need to give it more listens before I can accurately give it a score. The new songs played at the show breathed life into them, and featured a dynamic not found on record--but this occurs with every RXB song. In response to the usage of the 'ska' label, it is their foundation, and they have evolved. I thought I gave that treatment in the review, but if not, consider the opinion granted.

consequentialbanditry (July 5, 2006)

The album is excellent musically, and seems especially pained lyrically. I need to give it more listens before I can accurately give it a score. The new songs played at the show breathed life into them, and featured a dynamic not found on record--but this occurs with every RXB song.

Anonymous (July 5, 2006)

I was at the NYC show and I have to say it was one of the most unbelievable live shows I have witnessed. Rx Bandits were amazing.

I love the new record, the only thing I will love more is when people stop referring to them as a Ska band. That's so 3 records ago.

i-type-poorly (July 5, 2006)

If the new RxB songs are that forgettable, then I must have hallucinated an entire crowd belting out the lyrics without assistance as they are played in NJ. It's a great album. The production might be a bit muddy or bassy compaired to their previous drive-thru treatments, but that doesn't stop "In Her Drawer" from possibly being their best song yet.

Anonymous (July 4, 2006)

"...the vocals, which were from this side of New Found Glory and the Starting Line"

WHAT?

Excuse me, have you heard DESA?

Ryan sounds nothing like either of those two guys.

Anonymous (July 4, 2006)

For crying out loud, Rx Bandits are NOT a ska band. And, the new album is probably the best release to come out in the past couple of years or so. It's rare to find a band that has this much talent that is not signed to a major.

Morgan (July 4, 2006)

I saw this tour last night in CT and it was pretty boring until the Bandits came on.

They were awsome though except for when people were jumping around and having fun and Rmbree told everyone to stop.

That kinda killed the mood.

Anonymous (July 4, 2006)

I saw the RXB show in NYC and NJ and the absence of Borth was definitely noticable. Nevertheless, i still consider RXB to be one of the best live performing bands out there right now. If you get the chance, go out, go see them, check out the new cd, you definitely wont be disappointed.

mashole (July 4, 2006)

that sounded like such an amazing show.i remeber getting into rxb right when i sarted playing drums and chris shatters my confidence everytime i listen. what an amazing drummer.

speaking of drummers does the drummer from iata still look like a hick hulk hogan with the mustache and long straight hair?

inagreendase (July 4, 2006)

This show was pretty great as expected. IATA's new song didn't seem as good the first time I saw it played, but it was still damn good, and their "Waiting Room" cover was nice.

Rx Bandits didn't even play most of my favorite songs of theirs and still killed it.

danperrone (July 4, 2006)

new rx bandits is not as good as everyone says it is

it's pretty good music but it's ultimately forgettable...not to mention it's messy, all over the place, and has no direction whatsoever

rkl (July 4, 2006)

after a the excitement of the initial listenings, i dont know how i feel about the new rxb... its not that its bad, but wtf are the horns?

Exclusive Streams

Sponsored


Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go