Part of why I sought out a position as a writer and photographer at XPN is so I could constantly be exposed to new artists and new musical directions. I’ve found so far that my favorite method of discovery since hopping onboard XPN’s contributor list is by discovering bands at concerts. I’ve learned of myriad artists in this manner, including Strand of Oaks, Parquet Courts, and The 1975. On a warm summer night at Union Transfer, I had the pleasure of discovering and subsequently falling in love with three mind-blowingly fantastic acts: From Indian Lakes, The Dear Hunter, and Rx Bandits.
At eight sharp, From Indian Lakes opened up the night with a healthy dose of math rock, citing clear instrumental influences from bands like Copeland and mewithoutyou, with lead vocalist and guitarist Joey Vannucchi leading the charge with constant harmonies and impeccable stage presence. Highlights from the band’s set included recently released single Sleeping Limbs, and Stay Outside, released on their self-released album Able Bodies. The Yosemite four-piece are touring in promotion of their upcoming album Absent Sounts, the group’s first album with label support, due out this October.
The night would only get crazier from there. Coming up to the stage second was experimental six-piece The Dear Hunter, a Rhode Island band noted for their constant variety in musical style and instrumentation. I was immediately amazed at the raw musical talent of every member of the band, with four out of the six providing harmonic assistance and three of the aforementioned four taking incredible guitar solos.
The group played a set spanning much of their career, hitting tracks off the albums Migrant, The Color Spectrum, and Act III: Life and Death. The choruses of various songs were huge points for the crowd, prompting practically every fan in the room to sing, dance, and bang their heads. After highlights like Bring You Down, Shame, and Filth and Squalor, no moment throughout The Dear Hunter’s set gave me chills more than the entrance into the first chorus of Whisper, which had every crowd member singing their heart out and banging their heads in unison.
I was convinced at this point that this night could not get any more awesome. As soon as Rx Bandits’ stage setup was revealed, I knew I was wrong. The set started with the group’s RX lighting system slowly lighting the crowd as the ethereal intro to upcoming album Gemini, Her Majesty played in the background. The set opened with the incredibly fun and dancy Stargazer, a cut from their new record, out the 22nd. The madness immediately ensued, with crowdsurfers already popping up at an almost alarming rate. Clearly, this band knew how to throw a party, with incredible lighting and a nebula backdrop setting the tone for the Bandits’ unstoppable vein of alt-rock.
The rest of Rx Bandits’ set continued in the same, unbelievably fun way- every remaining member of the crowd dancing to their limits, singing along to every chorus of every tune, all to the backdrop of a band with some of the most incredible stage antics I’ve seen thus far. Through incredible tunes like Stargazer, Wide Open, 1995, and Apparition, the band put on a show that every fan in attendance will tell their friends about for years to come. Check out photos and the setlists below.
The Dear Hunter:
Bring You Down
In Cauda Venenum
The Church And The Dime
We’ve Got A Score To Settle
Where The Road Parts
Filth and Squalor
New Song [Untitled]
…And The Battle Begun
In Her Drawer
My Lonesome Only Friend
Dinna-Dawg (And The Inevitable Onset Of Lunacy)
To Our Unborn Daughters
Only For the Night
Bring Our Children Home Or Everything Is Nothing
From Indian Lakes, Rx Bandits, The Dear Hunter, Union Transfer