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It’s been a long road to the release of Rubblebucket’s new album Survival Sounds. The title has meaning for vocalist Annakalmia Traver, who defeated ovarian cancer last year. The album clearly has significant meaning for Traver and her bandmates, but they still maintain the genre-mashing sound that has built them a very loyal following over the past few years. Last night the group played a very sold out Mercury Lounge in celebration of the album, and what a party it was.

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Northampton, Massachusetts trio And The Kids kicked off the night with an opening set. The all-female group got the night started with a very solid set of music that danced around many different sorts of feelings and sounds, without every really sticking to one set descriptive genre. I liked what I heard, and recommend you check them out.

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2001, a new group started by Benjamin Lazar Davis and Joan Wasser, were up next. You got the sense that they are a very new band, which was confirmed when they said had only two shirts for sale, and that they were about to begin recording an album. Davis and Wasser delivered the material passionately, showing a great deal of emotion throughout the performance, acting as though they were possessed and transfixed. It only made their music that much more believable, translating that much better with the audience.

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Finally, the time for Rubblebucket came, and they didn’t disappoint. The rather large hitting Survival Sounds track “My Life” opened the show, and set the tone right away. The brass section of Alex Toth and Adam Dotson get to let loose and shine live, sounding much more liberated live than they do on record where they are well used, but somewhat contained. I heard many of the new songs last November at Music Hall of Williamsburg, but they sounded much fuller and polished off tonight.

The whole group gave a vibrant and passionate performance but it was Traver who led the charge, playing with a contagious smile and energy that spread throughout the packed Mercury Lounge. It was surprising to hear their largest hit “Came Out Of A Lady” mid-set, but seeing the band take the song into the crowd (Toth finished the song on the shoulders of a fan) escalated things to a different level, and the show never deterred from it. From there the show featured confetti, strobe lights, balloons, and an appearance from Vashti (the pink creature seen on the Survival Sounds cover). There was even a fan in the crowd that showed up with a pie that he started eating before passing it up to the band (photo evidence below).

The power of Rubblebucket is their ability to take different genres of music and twist them into a new mold that feels new and exciting. There’s elements of ska, funk, rock, jazz, and dance all thrown in there, sometimes all at once. It also helps that interacting with the crowd is a crucial element of the show, as seen with a set-ending performance that took the band through the back of the crowd, all the way to the front of Mercury Lounge, where they finished things off out near the merch table, all the way past the bar. It may have been a major fire hazard, but damn it was worth it.

Photos of Rubblebucket, And The Kid, and 2001 posted below, along with Rubblebucket’s setlist.

Setlist:

1. My Life
2. Silly Fathers
3. Shake Me Around
4. Sound Of Erasing
5. Middle
6. Breatherz
7. Triangular Daisies
8. Patriotic
9. Came Out Of A Lady
10. Save Charlie
11. Young and Old
12. Origami
13. Hey Everybody
14. On The Ground
15. Rewind
16. Carousel Ride
17. Pain From Love
18. Parade

Rubblebucket:

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2001:

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And The Kids:

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