Originally published on Live Music Blog, all photos by Nick Irving.
Big band Brooklynites Rubblebucket sold out the Bowery Ballroom this past Saturday night, and though they haven’t quite broken into the mainstream scene, their constant touring schedule and years of festival appearances make them a pretty well known name in every scene they fit with. From jam to funk to indie to trance, these young musicians bring a whole new musical perspective to melding influences.
When it came time for the band to come out, the whole crowd was still buzzing off the energy from Superhuman Happiness (which features members from Antibalas andTV on the Radio), and the first floor of the Bowery was packed thick from wall to wall with people anxious for the main attraction. The glowing scarves hanging from the microphones only hinted at the kind of exuberance the band was about to stir up, so the ecstatic audience got a Rubblebucket chant going that coaxed the band on stage, one beaming member of their eight-person ensemble at a time, followed last but not least by leading lady and saxophonist Kalmia. Riding high off the success of their most recent album, Omega La La, they opened the show with “Worker,” “Raining,” and “Breatherz,” all off the album and clearly what a main factor in drawing so many people to the historic NYC venue. On top of this new album, another huge draw to this band is Kalmia’s totally unique voice which completely redefines what beautiful could sound like.
High energy and super intensity flowed off stage with every beat and watered the crowd with a booming horn section, buzzing percussions, and intricate, original bass and guitar lines. When the first notes of “Silly Fathers” floated through the Bowery, people went nuts and the band felt moved enough to jump into the crowd and parade through with their instruments. It’s these moments that stick out in a memory when, 10 years from now, the band is selling out much bigger and more prominent venues. The band rocked it solid and steady into an amazing cover of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass,” when they decided to bring out the dancing robots. Two ordinary looking people came out of the wings with giant robots on their shoulders marching and dancing through the crowd, bobbing and weaving almost as high as the balcony. Two songs as big as the openers, “Triangular Daisies” and “Came Out of a Lady” closed the set, which was way too short, and the band couldn’t have been more thankful and modest to have received such an explosive applause.
It took just a bit more screaming and cheering to get them back for a two song encore. “Down in the Yards” started slow and creeping, building up the intensity in a way that only Rubblebucket can keep perfectly at bay. The slipped right into a tame, yet still exciting “L’Homme” where some of the horns got to shine out and everyone got to bid adieu to the city that loved them so much.