Saturday, July 20, 2013

Rubblebucket at the Shea

Our personal Summer Music Tour continues!  We were heading out to the Green River Festival but before that, there was a little matter of Rubblebucket playing at a small theater in Turners Falls.  This was the official GRF kickoff concert; Rubblebucket couldn't make the main show this year but were booked for the night before with And The Kids, who would perform at the show.

Got on the road for the West at a bit after 1:00 with the thermometer reading an even 100 degrees.  Traffic leaving the city was mid-summer snarl, but it calmed down as we got further and further beyond Worcester and we pulled into the Oxbow Resort Motel just a bit after 3, where it was still crazy-hot.  The others hadn't arrived yet but we broke the ice and took room 25 in the back left of the hotel, a very nice room.

The motel's under new management and they're struggling to get their staff and their act together in some ways.  The golf course isn't really mowed except for a few areas (which is bad for golf) and there are other signs of needing to catch up.  The proprietors were skimming the swimming pool in a mad hurry because they knew their weekend guests would be using it heavily.  One of them told me that they'd recently hired someone to do housekeeping, so she could finally concentrate on the grounds work that she knew needed to be done.

The others showed up and we all hit the pool.  Sarah and I had to take off a little after that for a nice dinner in pretty downtown Greenfield at the Greenfield Grille with my high school teacher/friend Peter.  On the way to Turners Falls after that we detoured by Poets's Tower but didn't have time to climb the trail up to it ... some other visit.

Crossed the strong Connecticut and the swift-flowing spillway past the old mills in Turners Falls and turned up into the middle of town, where we had time for a beer in a tavern across the street (at about half the price they'd charge in Boston).  We crossed the street to the funky little Shea Theater and made out way inside (no one asked for our tickets).  There's a dance floor in front of some seats there and of course we walked right up to the stage and sat on it.  What's the point of going to a concert if you're going to choose to sit in the back?

And The Kids came on right on time and were a bit freaked out by the fact that a couple of older people were standing in front of the stage.  They thought they appealed to youngsters.  But then some youngsters stepped up to the front too and it was ok.  What helped them relax was that we obviously enjoyed their music too ... guitar, electric piano/vibes, and kit drums.  I was very impressed by the guitarist picking up her mandobird at one point and changing the key with four precise twists of the four tuning pegs; she knew her instrument well.

Between sets Scott, Michelle, and Tristan finally made it and the place started to get seriously packed.  Then Rubblebucket came on and the place exploded.  We all were soon jumping up and down, shouting, and stretching our arms up to the ceiling (and beyond) in ecstasy.  Those guys are great.

They've got a new bass player and one new percussionist instead of the two they'd had previously, but they still had the core of Annakalmia Traver, Alex Toth, Adam Dotson, Ian Hersey on ripping guitar (the guitarist for And The Kids had a great-sounding axe and Ian borrowed it for their set), and Darby Wolf on organ and synth.  They ripped our ears off with their classics: Worker, Silly Fathers, Triangular Daisies, Young As Clouds, etc.  They also mixed in a few songs from their upcoming EP (one of which was very good and got Adam the thumbs-up, which he accepted gravely), their newer Pain From Love, a Doobie Brothers cover, and closed with Came Out Of a Lady.  They waved people up on stage for the last number and then of course the horn players (and the drummer) jumped off the stage after the last song and paraded through the crowd, delighting us all.  Their actions show that they want their music to belong to their audience.

We stumbled out of there after the show and found a nearby bar where the Karaoke was rocking and the beer was even cheaper (I couldn't resist a 20-ounce Bud Light Lime for $2.35(!)).  Soon back to the Oxbow for a few more beers on the veranda and then to bed.

More excellent pictures at:
And The Kids -
Rubblebucket -

p.s.  We returned home on Monday the 22nd and got an email from Kalmia to her list of fans.  They'd mysteriously cancelled a few upcoming gigs, and we were glad they didn't cancel on the one we had tickets for.  But Kalmia announced the reason for the cancellations is that she's got ovarian cancer and is scheduled for surgery soon.  We feel so strange to remember her putting on her usual incredibly dynamic show on Friday, her and her band knowing what they did and we not having any idea.  What a brave person she is, and best wishes to her.

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