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I felt like Matt Embree was eyeballing me all night.
In between The Dear Hunter's set and RX Bandits' (RxB) 13 song, 75-minute headlining set at The Agora in Cleveland
Monday night, a couple spots front-row/left-of-center opened up and I snagged one of them. It was my first time seeing
RxB, one of my all time favorite bands, since the last time they'd performed in Cleveland in early 2008 and it had been
only six days since the release of new sel-freleased, crowd funded album Gemini, Her Magesty. I was hecka-pumped.
I spent the last week learning the new stuff and reconnecting with the band's previous three albums. They have more
than four albums, but the last four are the best four. Before that, RxB were basically just a ska band, horns and all.
It was 2003's The Resignation that changed everything and by the time 2005's And That Battle Begun was released
they had completely morphed into a progressive rock band. Their sound was still mostly based on the foundations of
punk and reggae, but there was no ska to be found, and those foundations were merely the base on which musical
adventures were launched. By 2009's Mandala the horns were gone entirely.
In 2011 they broke up. I was crushed. Luckily, it didn't take, and last year they reformed to tour for the 10th Anniversary
of The Resignation, playing the album in it's entirety for crowds around the country. Apparently that went well, and now
they're back together for the foreseeable future. In support of the new album, RxB has embarked on an extensive
co-headlining tour with The Dear Hunter, bringing along opener From Indian Lakes.
So yeah, I was rocking out pretty hard and singing along as best I could and lead singer Matt Embree, who looks more
like he should be playing Grateful Dead covers than aggressively tempoed rock tunes, kept side-eyeing me. You go to
a show and sometimes you think you share eye contact with a band member, but there's hundreds or thousands of
people there and you're almost certainly mistaken. But there were maybe 200-250 people at this show, and really only
10-15 he could have been looking at and I was the only one in the area sweating through his bright turquoise Locale
AM t-shirt (look 'em up) and losing his voice singing his heart out. I'm pretty sure he was checking to see if I knew the
lyrics. Most of the time I did, but I'm not great with memorizing lyrics and especially with new songs I've only heard 56
times. I'm sorry if I let you down, Matt. I'll try to do better next time. Come back to Cleveland again soon. Don't make us
wait six years between shows again.
The Dear Hunter are six-piece progressive rock band from Rhode Island, not to be confused with Deerhunter,
the indie group from Atlanta, or The Deer Hunter, 1978 movie starring Robert DeNiro, which would have been a weird
co-headliner for a rock show. They have a full and layered sound and feature three guitarists, a bassist, a keyboardist,
and a drummer. Their hour-long set, full of muscular and heavy melodic rock, started out a bit tight, but really got going
in the second half of the set, with sing-along moments and even rejected crowd requests.
From Indian Lakes seemed cool, but I only caught the last two songs, so I couldn't really tell for sure. Cleveland's own
The Missing opened the night or at least I assume that they did.
Review & Photos
RX Bandits, The Dear Hunter rock The Cleveland Agora
Review By Guest Writer NATHAN VEALE | Photos By JEN LANGMAN
The Dear Hunter