Neon colors, LED light accessories, giant dancing robots, sing-a-longs, and crowd-surfing second line parades are some of the things you can expect at a Rubblebucket show. You can expect your face to start hurting from smiling so much, but to not care because you’re at a super fun party where you could get blasted in the face by either a trumpet or an orange slice, and either one would be the best thing ever.
That’s what Rubblebucket’s last tour date at Music Hall of Williamsburg was like. There was so much randomness and letting loose-ness, it was like what happens when you throw a house party in a venue with a state of the art sound system. The band came out with these giant LED stage lights hanging around their necks like some Flavor Flav bling piece, and posted up behind microphones draped with neon fabric. They didn’t stand still for long, and for pretty much the whole set they played and bounced around the stage the way soccer players run up and down the field the entire game.
I had had “Focus (Oversaturated)” off their new EP in my head all day, so I was happy when they played that a few songs in. They also played the “Breatherz” early on, another song that is probably what you’ve heard if you’ve heard anything from Rubblebucket. From there fun things just kept unfolding, like a strobe light dance party segment, some anonymous friends in big shiny sacks that came out on stage to bob around like dancing stalagmites, and balloons getting punched around the sea of people on the floor. Everyone and everything was all over the place, but none more so than frontwoman Kalmia Traver. When she wasn’t scream-singing like only she can into the mic, she was grabbing her bari sax and out-blasting out the horns. Or maybe she was jumping down into the crowd and singing to people’s faces, or breaking off orange slices and throwing them at outstretched hands, or just dancing all around. Also, all of these things could happen in succession, in a matter of minutes. And did happen, on frequent rotation.
Rubblebucket’s encore song included members from both Stepdad and Reptar, who they shared the stage with that night. It was one huge party finale, which was basically enthusiastic pandemonium on stage. The debauchery spilled out into the audience when bandleader/trumpeter Alex Toth lead a little second line-style parade into the crowd. Someone hoisted Toth up onto their shoulders, and he rode majestically around the venue, trumpet pressed to his lips and pointed toward the ceiling.
The energy waned somewhat for the beginning of Reptar’s set, but quickly picked up again. Since this was the last stop on a tour all the bands had shared, their last couple songs turned back into a musical celebration, with Rubblebucket coming back out to form one big, loud, brassy family. The big dancing robots came back out too, and this time the second line of horns led people out into the music hall’s lobby, where the players adlibbed and got down for another 15 minutes or so. Between their DIY props, improvised shenanigans, and interactive sensibilities, Rubblebucket’s unique creativity was an over saturation of the senses in the best way.