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GURNETT: Rubblebucket an unexpected joy to watch

I went into Wednesday night’s Rubblebucket / And The Kids concert blind. I had listened to the bands, and Rubblebucket, in particular, seemed fun and interesting. I read the unique story of the band’s two core members, Kalmia Traver and Alex Toth, ending their marriage in an uncoupling ceremony, only to come back with their best release to date, this year’s “Sun Machine.” I was expecting an interesting two-piece performance. What I got was so much better.

And The Kids opened the evening. The Northampton, MA-based band performed as a two-piece (their social media indicates that they usually play as a four-piece) and played a pleasant set of mellow indie rock. Vocalist/guitarist Hannah Mohan had a vibrato reminiscent of Siouxsie and the Banshees and a stage presence akin to Florence Welch, standing tall with a flowing robe and long strawberry blonde hair.  Drummer Rebecca Lasaponaro played a minimal kit,chipping in with a synth pad mounted on the drum kit and some bells on the side of the kit. The crowd was into them, and it was a great start to the evening.

Then, Rubblebucket burst onto the stage. Apparently, I didn’t do enough research, because instead of a two-piece band, they consisted of two trumpeters (including Toth) who doubled as backing vocalists; Traver on vocals, guitar and the occasional baritone sax; a bassist; a guitarist; and a drummer.

The show was a joy to watch. The band had a blast on stage as they tore through songs from “Sun Machine” and threw in some old favorites. Traver, Toth and the rest of the band danced nonstop,  and the band was a solid, well-oiled machine. An honorable mention goes to bassist Noga Shefi, whose performance stood out among the backing band. Everything sounded great.

The sound at Babeville’s Asbury Hall was perfect. The lighting was excellent. There were screens on each side of the stage that the performers would go behind to project their silhouettes in red and blue hues. The crowd ate up every second of it, with the majority in attendance dancing the night away along with the band. It reminded me of the same vibe I felt at Babeville when The New Pornographers came into town last year. It was a giant party and a beautiful reminder of how music can bring us together in joy.

Ryan Gurnett has a B.S. in Music Industry from The College of St Rose. He has worked as a studio engineer, live sound engineer, producer and sound editor and has been a musician for 25 years. He is currently the co-host of The Struggle is Real Buffalo Music Podcast and bassist for The Lady, or the Tiger?. Email him at SirWilliamIdol@gmail.com or find him on Twitter @SirWilliamIdol.

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