Rubblebucket at the Westcott Theatre, November 20th


The lights gracefully brighten the stage and the audience finds themselves looking at colorful scarves draped across the microphone. It was only last fall that this Brooklyn based band played a sold-out show here in Syracuse and tonight, the Westcott Theatre is packed with a returning jubilant crowd gathered to see one of their favorite jam bands play. To the right is a middle-aged woman in a wheelchair, circling around in anticipation as singer Kalmia Traver aligns her saxophone carefully next to the mic. To the left are a red plastic cup holding college students chanting, “Rubblebucket” repeatedly. It is evident this band appeals to more than just one social scene. Armed with their wide pallet of instruments, the eight-member band takes on the stage like a stirring of galloping ponies, ready to show the town how to have a good time.

The band opens with “Bikes”, which brings back the tootsie-rolling, toe tinkling feeling of the early Free Design records. Traver showers the crowd with glitter and pulls out crowd pleaser after crowd pleaser from her setlist. In the middle of the band’s performance of “L’homme”, she casually pulls off the bright yellow scarf from around her painted face, to reveal a clean-shaven head, with a heart shaped buzz cut in the center that she dyed red. One can leave it up to Traver to even turn her recovery from ovarian cancer into a fashion statement. Traver, who had to cancel her summer shows because of her sickness, seems to have emerged even better than before. Her humming-to-the-flowers melody in “Silly Fathers” makes that apparent.

By the end of the night, everyone left the show a little worn out from all the “silly” dancing encouraged by the band, but the huge smiles plastered on their faces said that the experience was worthwhile, even if that meant showing up to work a little hung-over the next morning.

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