By Ben Cantlupe
This summer, RX Bandits and Dredg are touring the US together, promoting their recent album releases. Texas based Zechs Marquise jumped on the tour for a couple weeks, and will be parting ways to tour on their own during August. On Tuesday, July 28th, the three groups performed at Recher Theatre in Towson, MD.
Zechs Marquise was first to take the stage. Their first official studio release, called Our Delicate Stranded Nightmare, dropped in spring of 2008 and has since been picking up speed in sales and reviews. The group’s live performance stretched the songs to a point where some of them were almost un-recognizable to ears familiar with the album. Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez, the Zech’s bass player, commented about the drastic difference in performance. “We try to give a whole different vibe when recording versus the performance.” Most of the songs opened up into extended solo sections, with the guitarists giving searing improvisations over bass and drum grooves or arranged hits. Zechs Marquise has a distinct sound although they like to play with spacey guitar effects and tonally ambiguous melodies. The instrumental group received cheers and applause from the captivated audience. Marfred stated that Zech’s “goal has been one new fan in every city.” If that is the case, they exceeded well over expectation on Tuesday night.
Next up to play was prog-rock RX Bandits. They were clearly the band most of the audience showed up for, not only from the excitement of the packed room when they started playing, but also from the “Bandits’ Bandits” shirt-wearers scattered amongst the pit. Their set was very percussion based with drum intros and all-member inclusive drum jams. Most of the songs they played were from the newer albums, namely their last release …And the Battle Begun and Mandala which dropped on the 21st of this month. The singers soulful vocal melodies were matched in intensity by the lead guitarist/keyboardist’s virtuosic solos and the drummer’s tireless execution of the band’s practically break-less set. The song “Only For the Night,” appropriately the last song of the set, was most definitely the crowd favorite. The crowd almost buried the speakers because so many sang along with the lyrics. Solo sections and a couple breakdowns elongated the song, and finally members of Zech’s Marquise came out for another percussive congregation dubbed “Zech’s Bandits,” which concluded in a mini drum off then a huge finish of the song and the set.
RX Bandits and Dredg traded off headlining sets during their tour, and it was Dredg’s turn at Recher. Unfortunately for them, it seemed as if they might have benefited from not headlining. Almost half the crowd left the show following RX Bandits. Dredg released a new album entitled The Pariah, the Parrot, the Delusion at the beginning of this summer. The group performed a few of the hits from that album, including “I Don’t Know,” which is representative of their introspective anthems. Dredg plays music that is very bass and drum heavy, with the guitar usually either furiously strumming or picking at chords note by note. The singer was the most eclectic member of the group. He had wailing vocals like Coheed and Cambria, though not quite as high-pitched. He had dance moves like Jack Black, though not as hilarious. Occasionally he laid his guitar on a table and played it horizontally like a steel guitar, achieving eerie yet interesting sounds. The fans that stayed for the headliners never regretted it, and the night closed on a positive note.
On August 1st, Zechs Marquise parts ways with Dredg and RX Bandits to tour solo. As Tall As Lions will be filling in the empty spot on the Dredg/RX tour. This is no excuse to miss any of the bands if they make it to your town. An extra ticket is worth the shows that you won’t want to miss.
Official Zech’s Marquise Website www.zechsmarquise.com
Official Dredg Website: www.dredg.com
Official RX Bandits Website: www.rxbandits.com