The Rx Bandits played to a large audience in the Hub last Friday. The band hyped up the crowd with their lively and lyrically strong music.

Spartacus opened the show, playing a few of their original songs along with a cover. When they finished, the house cheered as the Rx Bandits entered the stage and ruled the night, playing several songs such as “Only for the Night” and “…And the Battle Begun.” The crowd cheered, clapped and moshed, expressing their excitement throughout the night and demonstrating their support for the band.

This is not the first time that the Rx Bandits have been in the Santa Barbara area. Though the band originates from Orange County, they are very familiar with Santa Barbara where they have enjoyed paddle-outs, relaxed in the hot springs and even lost a friend in a landslide a few years ago.

“I love Santa Barbara,” Matt Embree, vocalist/guitarist for the Rx Bandits said. “[It’s a] beautiful place. A lot of history here.”

The band first started their career in the 1990s as a ska band under the name of “The Pharmaceutical Bandits” until 1999, when they changed their name to the Rx Bandits. As they progressed through the years, the band moved away from the ska genre and tried other sounds that one might call alternative/progressive rock but still difficult to classify, as on their most recent album, Mandala.

“We create our own genres,” Embree said.

According to Embree, the band wishes to remain independent from the music business because they want to experiment with their sounds. Part of the reason they moved away from their ska sound was because they did not want to be boxed in by the music industry as so many other artists have been.

“Never spent a single dollar on promotion,” Embree said. “I don’t want anything to do with that.”

As a result, the band created their own label in order to produce their albums themselves. They also want to help other local artists get started without any of the “bullshit” that the industry relies on, though they focus more on the quality of their music and not simply the noises they can make.

“Anyone with a Mac can make a record,” Embree said. “But that doesn’t mean that they’re good musicians.”

When asked about the themes in the lyrics of their songs, Embree said he doesn’t like to tell others the meanings of his songs, and that everybody has the right to their own interpretation.

“All art is just a form of personal expression,” Embree said. “And you’re giving it to other people.”

When playing live, Embree said a show really comes together when the audience is a collaborator with their performer, and the band and the crowd are one perfect synergy. Seeing the energy of the audience as Embree traveled across the stage, it is safe to say that it was an engaging and successful night.