Rubblebucket at Fitzgerald's, 10/24/2014
Photos by Jim Bricker
Rubblebucket, Landlady Fitzgerald's October 24, 2014
Bands on the rise generally give you their all during a live performance. They have something to prove more than an already established act, with their careers on the line every single night. For a band to make it these days, they have to feature something different, whether it be a unique sound or approach to their style, or even just a wacky front person to keep you coming back (see Wayne Coyne).
Rubblebucket are a band on the rise. The Brooklyn Afrobeat-meets-indie group have slowly and steadily been making a name for themselves since their first album was released in 2008. Now with three more full-lengths and a handful of EPs, they're really starting to come up, playing packed shows throughout the country.
While a small room such as Fitzgerald's downstairs might be a bit different for a band like Rubblebucket, which regularly sells out thousand-plus capacity venues in their home city, they made the most out of the little room and entertained every square inch of it (even, at one point, the lobby).
Starting the evening with a set of quirky indie-rock was Landlady, whose name -- and quite possibly style also -- could be attributed to both the Phish song and the Roald Dahl poem of the same name. While front man Adam Schatz guaranteed me later after their set that it wasn't either, their sound and approach was as unique and different as a combination of them both.
Very percussive and spasmodic, Landlady's set started off a bit too quirky but soon came into itself and became the perfect warm-up for the headliner. Clearly a friendship has blossomed among the tourmates during their time together on the road, because the stage seemed to have an open invitation for collaboration throughout the evening. At any point during both groups' set, members of both bands appeared onstage in support or just to dance along.
Rubblebucket have that certain swagger that tells you they're going to be big, something like a mix between Brazilian Girls, Tune-Yards and Houston's own the Suffers, but with their own signature horn- and percussion-fueled style. Front woman Kalmia Traver has such a cool look, which she matches with her incredible voice and abilities on the sax. While the rest of the band members add their own necessary touches to the sound and vision of the performance, it's Traver who you have a hard time keeping your eye off throughout.
The party-first atmosphere that accompanies a Rubblebucket show is enough to get you there. Confetti, bright lights, crowd participation, a giant sheet that covered the entire crowd, a parade and a lobby party (that had the staff scampering to shut it down) were just some of the standout moments of this "sorry you missed it" type of show.
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Closing out with a jam session between all members of both bands, the encore perfectly ended a show that didn't seem to have many boundaries throughout. It was one of those shows that came and went so quickly, but sticks around in the back of your head for quite some time. Hell, I'm still bobbing my head to the funky goodness they brought to the table.
Personal Bias: Back in 2009-10, I used to wear out their song "Don't Exaggerate" any time I had the ability to DJ, whether it was sitting on my laptop editing photos, playing music for my friends in the car or bumping it at a house party or in a Phish lot. People would constantly come up to me and ask me about it. I'm actually listening to it now while typing this paragraph and it's hyping me up something fierce.
The Crowd A good mix of true music lovers. While not too crowded, they made up for it by energy alone. Have you ever seen someone crowd-surf when everyone in the entire room is holding them up?
Overheard In the Crowd: "I really dig them, but their name..."
Random Notebook Dump: I'm not the guy who usually talks to band members after the show, but everyone from both bands were so friendly and approachable that it made it easy. Good dudes, and lady.
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