Concert Review: RX Bandits steal the show at Cal Poly Pomona

RX Bandits were center stage in Cal Poly Pomona’s freshman welcome week, “Bronco Fusion.” RX Bandits headlined the evening concert Sept. 24. Vocalist and guitarist Matthew Embree sang the night away with trombone player Christopher Sheets and bass player Joseph Troy. The concert included two other bands, Panima and Monte Negro. The evening’s music featured a blend of indie, progressive and alternative rock. / photo by Walter Mansilla

Jaclyn Mittman
Arts Editor

Cal Poly Pomona staged “Bronco Fusion” this week to welcome new students and had special guest band RX Bandits play to cap off the night.

Next to the faculty parking lot a very large stage was erected, complete with stage lighting and two large screens for those sitting far away to see the bands.

The stage was set up in front of Horseshoe Hill, a big grass hill that was flooded with students and fans.

Before RX Bandits came on, two other bands played to warm up the crowd: Monte Negro and Panima.

To kick off the night’s concert, Panima, a Riverside-based band, performed and got the crowd riled up. Students and fans crowded the grass hill and pushed their way to the front of the stage.

“This concert was really cool because it was a private show, and it wasn’t advertised anywhere but on campus, even though it was open to the public,” Mallory Saltzman, Cal Poly Pomona junior fashion merchandising major said.

Monte Negro, a Columbian band that has a sound that combines reggae, new wave and rock played after Panima.

Their soulful lyrics and reggae songs seemed to please the crowd. Some songs were even sung in Spanish, as well as English, to display the Colombian culture of the band such as in “Give Me Love (No Llores)” and “Arde El Corazon (Triangle Love).”

“Monte Negro was really good,” Matt Mendoza, Cal Poly Pomona sophomore business management and human resources major said. “I had never heard them before, and they had a different sound from other bands and were really original.”

Panima started playing at 6:30 p.m., Monte Negro finished around 8:30 p.m., leaving RX Bandits enough time to set up.

The crowd was clearly excited for RX Bandits, screaming out to the stage “RXB! RXB!” Many students and fans came to see the band play.

The best part about the concert was that it was free for everyone. It was only advertised around the Cal Poly campus and on their Web site, but many people heard by word of mouth from other Cal Poly students.

Word had obviously spread fast, based on the very large crowd turnout.

RX Bandits came on after much anticipation about 9 p.m. Once their opening song began, almost everyone at the bottom of the hill stood up and made their way to the stage front.

“RX Bandits is one of the best bands live,” said Daniel Ucko, Cal Poly Pomona senior and editor-in-chief for the Poly Post. “They always put on a phenomenal performance.”

The two large onstage screens had close-ups of the band playing, and every now and then a slogan would appear like “Make some noise!”

Of course as soon as the students read it, they complied and jumped up and down screaming the lyrics to the songs.

RX Bandits played songs such as “Analog Boy” and “Consequential Apathy.”

“I haven’t seen RX Bandits in so long, so it was cool to see them perform at my school, and it was free!” Saltzman said.

RX Bandits, formerly Pharmaceutical Bandits, is a band from Long Beach that mixes different styles of music together such as ska, reggae and rock.

They have four albums out: “Halfway Between Here and There,” “Progress,” “The Recognition” and “…And The Battle Begun,” which is their most current album and was released in 2006. Both “The Recognition” and “…And the Battle Begun” are live albums.

“The concert was awesome,” Ucko said. “I honestly cannot think of a better word to describe it.”

There were approximately 1,800 students present and this was the largest scale concert of the year for Cal Poly.

Jaclyn Mittman can be reached at

Jaclyn Mittman
Walter Mansilla

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