Ft. Lauderdale, FL
July 7, 2011
July 7th could not have come any sooner for the eager Rx Bandits fans who have come to expect a yearly South Florida appearance from the California natives. But on that gray, rainy night the long line waiting outside Culture Room had mixed feelings about this ‘final’ show. The Bandits embarked on their current 36-stop farewell tour this summer along with faithful road companions: Zechs Marquise and the very folky Maps and Atlases.
Zechs Marquise welcomed the crowd with an onslaught of instrumentals creating a smooth, enchanting vibe. The entranced audience at Culture Room writhed and thrashed to the quirky, psychedelic beats of brothers Marcel and Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez, and childhood besties Matt Wilkson and Marcos Smith. Their powerful influence over the South Florida audience might be due to the fact that these grimy dudes have been touring with RX since 2009, and crowds have come to love their spindly, afro sporting keyboardist: brother Riko Rodriguez-Lopez, who dominates his little Akai keyboard.
There is something about finality that stirs the beehive, and at this show there was no sense of control.
Maps and Atlases, an experimental gang of bearded gentlemen, boarded the stage after Zechs and began to play something absolutely fantastic. It’s hard to outdo Zechs Marquise and even compare these two bands because they’re so different, but Maps and Atlases had this alien audience of skeptic Floridians on the move. It was impossible not to feel totally absorbed and captivated by the spontaneous and free spirit of their music. Shiraz Dada, lead vocals and bassist was hidden behind a curtain of beard and hair that almost shielded him from the real world and made his voice a holy doctrine of truth, beauty and omnipotence. His screeches and cries about World War II, witches, mountains and pigeons just added to the hippie vibes accompanied by very particular and effective instrumental arrangements that sounded like a whole lot of cowbell. If you have yet to see this band live, get to it, or at least buy their record and swim in its vast ocean of genius for a day—it will change your life.
When the crowd was properly crazed and impatient, RX’s Matt Embree snuck his way onstage to a clamorous embrace. There is something about finality that stirs the beehive, and at this show there was no sense of control. Everyone was too drunk on booze or love to notice the elbows being jammed into ribcages and the punches being flung from the pit. The head banging to the violent sound of Rx Banditsled to bloody lips all over the crowd and even a couple of chipped teeth. But nobody cared as eyes were fixated on the band in all their glory, bathed in green light, and surrounded by smoke. The smell of weed was intense and the pivots of smoke spiraled up from the crowd into infinity until every soul in that tiny sweaty room was on something. The band wasn’t particularly determined to say goodbye as this isn’t their last show. The Bandits are just calling a brief hiatus from their decade of nonstop touring. This “farewell” tour was just a casual goodbye nod, so that these tired revolutionaries can settle down for a while and write some more kickass songs.
Review by Diana Poussin
Photos by Juliette Saputo
Check out OUTLOUD’s previous coverage of Rx Bandits here