...And So I Watched As The Battle Begun

09:50 October 25, 2016
By: Finn Turnbull

Wednesday night, October 19th, marked a fantastic show with two headlining acts in the Parish Room at House of Blues. RX Bandits, who are on tour celebrating the 10th anniversary of their fifth album, ...And the Battle Begun, were joined by And So I Watch You From Afar for a powerful evening of music. RX Bandits are from Long Beach, California, and ASIWYFA are from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Though hailing from opposite ends of the world, both groups showcased an incredible amount of talent and packed the house with fans.

Guests were still trickling in when And So I Watch You From Afar kicked off the night, but the place was filled by the end of the first song. The mostly-instrumental four-piece band hit the audience over the head with intense post-rock/math rock fusion. Even though they were the “opening act,” ASIWYFA has a solid following in both USA and the UK. The guitarists, including bass, use a multitude of pedals to obtain unique tones and sound effects. The songs were without vocals, apart from sections during which the members would all sing together in a chant. Rory Friers and Niall Kennedy impressed with their finger speed and precision, playing bright, triumphant riffs atop a climactic rhythm section. Loud and full, the sound coming from such a small group of people was astonishing. A compelling, inspirational feeling washes over when witnessing And So I Watch You From Afar, and it showed as the crowd gave a response of genuine amazement.

RX Bandits started at 10:00pm. Their style is progressive rock and ska fusion, but they are known for their evolution from ska to more experimental rock that the band would not classify in any genre. They played as their current four-piece lineup with an additional two players on saxophone and trombone. Key light in the rear, remaining that way for the whole show, the silhouettes of the Bandits performed the album ...And the Battle Begun in order and entirety. The crowd was pumped and many near the mosh pit in the center were faced with the challenge of staying upright. After the album, RX returned for four more songs: “Ruby Cumulous” and “Stargazer” from their newest album, Gemini, Her Majesty, followed by “Taking Chase as the Serpent Slithers” and “Decrescendo” from their fourth, The Resignation. After the final encore song, the sweaty fans slapped hands with the Bandits, and despite ringing ears, “never slept so soundly.”

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