Rubblebucket's New Tunes Shine Onstage at the Grog Shop

Concert Review


Never miss a Rubblebucket show.

That was the lesson first ingrained when the Brooklyn band decimated the Beachland Ballroom in 2011, and that was the lesson Cleveland was gleefully reminded of when the band tripped out the Grog Shop on the opening night of its new tour on Thursday.

With a new album hitting streets asap, Rubblebucket seemed tighter than ever last night. The funk/indie/dance band has carved its name across the Northeast and beyond by laying down thick grooves, heady brass, and dynamic vocal work — the latter from the one-of-a-kind saxwoman/singer Kalmia Traver.

Rubblebucket shows are known for wild-ass stunts now and then. In 2011, a giant robot dance party suddenly took over the dance floor (see here for illustration). This time around, during the band's canonical "Came Out of a Lady," the musicians sent one of those massive rainbow parachutes into the crowd (you know, the kind that we all played with as young schoolchildren, the kind where we all, like, waved the parachute and bounced balls on top it and/or ran underneath it). Anyway, the crowd took that and started propelling balls toward the low-slung roof of the Grog. Trumpet player Alex Toth and trombone man Adam Dotson ran through the 'chute and began playing in the middle of the crowd. Traver danced wildly, as she's known to do, among the flying reds, yellows, blues and greens. 

The effect was pretty great. Couple that with strobe effects, an intricate tarpaulin of abstract art cloaking the back wall, and the synchronous dance moves of Toth and Dotson, and you've got the essential fixings of a Rubblebucket show. 

The new stuff from Survival Sounds was incredible. As I noted in this week's print edition of Scene, the new tunes have the band sounding deeper and fuller than ever before. They seem to be realizing dreams planted long ago. They're ascending. "Middle" was a noted highlight, drawing out the throbbing drums/bass combo that held down the low end so well all night.

Closing out the night, Rubblebucket launched into the heavyweight single from the new tip, "Carousel Rides," which balances out a gentle bass line and Traver's reflective croon with pulse-pounding synth work. Then the band ended with "Pain from Love," off the Oversaturated EP. 

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