Tag Archives: Rubblebucket
Rubblebucket – Mercury Lounge – August 26, 2014
A name like Rubblebucket might conjure up a mishmash of musical nuggets, which is exactly what the seven-piece outfit creates. Anchored by a strong horn section, a flurry of explosive synthesizers creates melodies that range from indie pop to dance funk. The band began with leader Alex Toth meeting Annakalmia “Kalmia” Traver at the University of Vermont, and from there the bond has spanned nearly a decade. Slowly building a fan base on the festival circuit, the Brooklyn band has garnered a healthy following, including NPR Music’s Bob Boilen. On the night of their third full-length album release, Rubblebucket played a sold-out Mercury Lounge christening their latest, Survival Sounds.
A setup of a tarp backdrop and strobe floor lights hinted at the night ahead as the troupe took the stage that seemed barely big enough to contain them. “My Life,” off their latest, opened the set to a sea of adoring fans. Traver exclaimed that it was Survival Sounds day and expressed that she was feeling crazy this evening. The septet rippled through old and new material, following up the opener with “Silly Fathers,” off Omega La La, and brought out the flutes for “Sound of Erasing.” Toth and trombone player Adam Dotson provided some choice backup dance moves behind the eccentric Traver on lead vocals. Throughout the evening, the band employed stage effects like a confetti cannon, balloons released from a black trash bag and a long panel of fabric, which stretched close to the end of the venue—creating a billowing tent over half of the audience.
Toth descended into the crowd for “Came Out of a Lady,” sending many into uproarious cheers. The tempo mellowed for “Young and Old,” but that didn’t last long as the group continued playing new material, including the clap-happy “Origami,” a crescendo-heavy “Hey Everybody,” crowd-favorite “Shake Me Around” and the upbeat, jazzy “Rewind.” On the latter, Traver invaded the floor to start a Soul Train line, with fans eager to join. As the show’s end neared, the single “Carousel Ride” built up the energy as everyone sang a chorus of “round and round.” Following the final song, “Pain from Love,” everyone in the band jumped off the stage to march through the audience and into the front bar, but not before they’d proved that Rubblebucket are a force to be reckoned with, from their fierce music to their showmanship. —Sharlene Chiu
Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.wordpress.com
Galactic – Brooklyn Bowl – August 7, 2013
As far as metaphors go, New Orleans’ Galactic most resemble Silly Putty: totally elastic, plenty of bounce and press ’em hard enough against something and they’ll pick it up and distort it to no end. Opening a four-night run at Brooklyn Bowl last night, their unpredictable malleability was in full effect. After a tough-to-follow opening set from hot up-and-comers Superhuman Happiness, who appear to be raising Afrobeat space-funk indie pop to an art form, the veteran jammers took the stage and wasted no time with a warm-up solo-packed funk jam.
From there the set was delivered in bite-sized pieces. Guests rotated in and then left only to return, beginning with Corey Glover, looking quite like your golf-obsessed uncle and delivering a decidedly soul-blues-rock edge. His highlight was a great cover of Allen Toussaint’s “Night People,” which rode a nice Jeff Raines guitar solo, and the appropriately titled “Ooh Nah Nay,” the crowd singing along while getting lost in the Bermuda Triangle of Rob Mercurio, Ben Ellman and Stanton Moore. The proverbial glow stick was cracked when Jon Gutwillig from the Disco Biscuits joined in on guitar, adding a long, swirly phospherescent solo to a dark, funky jam. The Silly Putty went pretzel as Glover and Gutwillig both sat in for, of all things, an adrenaline-rush cover of Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.”
Of course Galactic spent some quality time on their own, with plenty of boogie-inducing numbers, from the classic Meters-esque groovers to the explosive, harmonica-meets-slide-guitar-meets-TNT-drums “Shibuya.” But the guests couldn’t be held off for too long: Rubblebucket’s Kalmia Traver brought a bucket of energy to the second Zeppelin cover of the night, matching Glover’s performance with a house-igniting take on “Whole Lotta Love.” Traver moved to baritone saxophone and bandmate Alex Toth joined in on trumpet for a big-horn-section take on “Baker’s Dozen” before Glover returned to close it all out with a Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality.” And that was just the first night! Don’t worry. I’m sure there’s plenty of bounce left in ’em for three more—and then some. —A. Stein
Tags: Alex Toth, Allen Toussaint, Ben Ellman, Brooklyn Bowl, Corey Glover, Disco Biscuits, Galactic, Jeff Raines, Jon Gutwillig, Kalmia Traver, Led Zeppelin, Living Colour, Meters, Photos, Review, Rob Mercurio, Rubblebucket, Stanton Moore, Superhuman Happiness
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Musically speaking, Alex Toth (trumpet) and Kalmia Traver (vocals and sax) have been together for a while. The two met as music majors at the University of Vermont and upon graduation they joined the reggae outfit John Brown’s Body. Eventually they decided to go in a different direction, more along the lines of a mash-up of psychedelic pop and dance music with layered rhythms and melodies. Craig Myers (percussion) was the first to join the effort, but now the Brooklyn-based Rubblebucket (above, doing “Breatherz”) performs with an array of instruments and as many as nine musicians.
Ryan Engelberger, William Kennedy, Andrew McFarland and Graham Ulicny formed the dance-pop quartet Reptar (below, doing “Sebastian” for KEXP FM) four years ago in Athens, Ga. And with buzz-worthy appearances at festivals like Austic City Limits and Lollapalooza, they’ve left behind a slew of sweaty, dancing bodies with their updated take on dance-worthy electronic music. Together with Rubblebucket, they make a killer double bill. Go see these bands live: on Saturday at The Bowery Ballroom (which is sold out) or on Sunday at Music Hall of Williamsburg.
Tags: Alex Toth, Andrew McFarland, Bowery Ballroom, Craig Myers, Graham Ulicny, John Brown’s Body, Kalmia Traver, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Preview, Reptar, Rubblebucket, Ryan Engelberger, Video, William Kennedy
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Rubblebucket – The Bowery Ballroom – January 28, 2012
In between the opener and the headliner of Saturday night’s sold-out Bowery Ballroom show a woman asked us for the name of the first band. When I said, “Superhuman Happiness,” she responded, “They were really good!” I nodded in agreement: Indeed, they had just turned the room into a dance hall, blending Afrobeat with modern touches ranging from the Talking Heads to LCD Soundsystem. It was jamming horn-heavy groove music with claws, gratifying fans in the crowd and winning over plenty more.
Then the woman asked if we had ever seen Rubblebucket, the headliner. We replied that we hadn’t and she got a look in her eye. I know that look. I’ve given it to people plenty of times. It says, “You’re in for a treat and you don’t even know it.” Not many acts can put that kind of spark in someone’s eye. But later in the night—somewhere in between the crowd-surfing guest sousaphonist and the robot puppets (or puppet robots?) dancing through the arms-in-the-air crowd while the band stretched out a jam that had begun with a whiplash version of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass”—there was no question where that look had come from because I had the same one.
Rubblebucket picked up right where Superhuman Happiness had left off, taking the organic stuff of the tribal and the electronic and burying it underground until it liquefied into pure party petrol. The music was utterly post-genre—horns, synth, guitars, harmonies—a smile-inducing point on the tangent that connects Björk and Broken Social Scene. If those in the audience were enjoying themselves to the legal limit, the band members were right there with them, amid the crowd-surfing and the confetti cannons and returning for the encore ensconced in LEDs that seemed to blink in time with the drums. By the end of the show, which included material off last year’s Omega La La and even stronger first-time-played material, not a booty was left unshaken and not an eye was left untwinkling. —A. Stein
Musically speaking, Alex Toth (trumpet) and Kalmia Traver (vocals and sax) have been together for a while. The two met as music majors at the University of Vermont and upon graduation they joined the reggae outfit John Brown’s Body. Eventually they decided to go in a different direction, more along the lines of a mash-up of psychedelic pop and dance music with layered rhythm and melodies and arrangements by Toth. Craig Myers (percussion) was the first to join the effort, but now the Brooklyn-based Rubblebucket (above, doing “Triangular Daisies” for Audiotree Live) performs with an array of instruments and as many as nine musicians. And when they play live, they bring it. So bring yourself to The Bowery Ballroom on Saturday night and be prepared to shake it.