Horns, harmonies, and incredible melodies unfolded at the Beachland Tavern last night from the eight instrumental voices that make up Rubblebucket.
The vibrant and colorful performance alternated between songs from both of the band’s albums, though it leaned on tracks from the upcoming Omega La La.
Rubblebucket’s arrangements were exciting and surprising, with each member unselfishly filling their role. Alex Toth (on trumpet and vocals) danced like David Byrne, sometimes in sync with trombonist and partner-in-harmony Adam Dotson, while Kalmia Traver traded lead vocals and baritone sax.
Behind them, Ian Hersey carved out catchy lines and the occasional solo on guitar, and Darby Wolf laid a bed of chords on the keys while Jordan Brooks shaped the foundation with solid bass punches. David Cole and Craig Myers sculpted three-dimensional rhythms between a kit and auxiliary percussion.
Though Rubblebucket are eight deep, there were times when the voices alone were enough to move the crowd with simple lines, like the one at the beginning of “Bikes.” But other times the jockeying of each instrument was needed to complete an idea, like in “Down in the Yards,” which yielded one of the night's most satisfying choruses.
Some songs enveloped the audience in billowing sounds, like when listeners were lured by an innocent French verse into the belly of “L’Homme,” only to get tangled in swirling effects and maddening reverb. Other songs offered straightforward melodic indulgence, like the infectious “Came Out of a Lady,” which ended with the horns parading across the floor.
The band performed complex songs like polished professionals, blending spontaneity, personality, and energy, leaving fans to dance without worry of missed notes or clumsy transitions. —Adam Burroughs