We enjoyed Rubblebucket so much at the Green River Festival this past July and when our friend pointed out that they were coming to Boston we were definitely going to go ... even though they were playing at the Paradise Rock Club and the last time I went to the Paradise was to see Lowell George. [Hint: he was alive then.]
Got to Allston a bit after 6 when the parking spots are up for grabs ... grabbed one and then had a long dinner on the sidewalk in front of the Sunset Cantina. Went over to the club a bit after 8 and stood in line for a while in front of the Goodwill Store. When it was time to enter they didn't check our IDs Grabbed some spots up by the sound board after checking the place out and wondered how crowded it was going to get.
Delighted to run into our long-time friend JeffC, who was there checking out Hayley Jane, the new singer for the excellent opener, iLa Mawana. They did a nice set of reggae and blues that had the suddenly swelling crowd dancing. The friends we were going to meet there had been delayed but showed up during their second song. The next opener (Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt) was kind of humorous, but took a lot of time developing the humour. They inflated a Christmas tableau of snowmen, etc. on stage, passed out costumes, and did some raving and flashing of lights while wearing teddy bear pelts and playing the drums in front of a bass/organ loop. It was better than most of my trips to the dentist. The best part of it was when Adam Dotson (trombone player for Rubblebucket) leaned over us to take some pictures of the ravers, then stayed for a nice chat.
Rubblebucket finally came on about 11:20 and they were worth the wait. By then the place was packed ("the front doors was locked, but when the police knocked...") and we were actually pretty glad we hadn't chosen a spot in front of the stage because it would have taken a lot of energy just to stand there, especially when the crowd surfers and stage divers started in.
You can see a detailed blog (including a set list) at http://maimedandtamed.com/2011/10/01/rubblebucket-at-paradise-93011/. Rubblebucket plays with so much energy and such musical excellence that they're just riveting: the guitar leads Ian Hersey played were jaw-dropping, the vocal arrangements were mind-bending, fluid, mellifluous stuff, the powerful horn runs by Dotson, Alex Toth (trumpet), and Annakalmia Traver (baritone sax) lifted the songs into new dimensions, and the songs themselves are killer! They did my current favorite, Rescue Ranger, did all the other hits from their current record and some of the excellent songs from their first, including Badonso We Did This and November.
But the great thing is their style. They're not playing blues or pop or leaning on convention in any way. Their songs are really their own and their playing shines with an electric freedom that's so fresh and alive. They just picked up those weird-looking things they have in their hands (the chick singer [pardon the expression Kalmia] tooting on a bari sax is wonderful but weird), figured out how to make incredible sounds out of them, figured out how to do that together, and go on stage and make some amazing, excellent music. People like me who own ten different covers of The Long Black Veil need to get out and hear new stuff once in a while ... this is what live music is all about.