In what has become a bit of a tradition, afrobeat-dance-pop partiers Rubblebucket once again worked Rochester’s Water Street Music Hall into their New Year’s weekend plans this year. Though their visit is never quite held on New Year’s Eve, they’re always sure to carry over some antics with them.
The stage was dressed with a painted and black-lit backdrop that was hit with various animations throughout the night, including jellyfish, clouds, hyperspace-esque bursts etc. The band continued their strong touring behind their latest album Survival Sounds. The show opened with “Shake Me Around” and “Sound of Erasing” and the rest of the set was peppered with more Survival Songs tracks. Past hits from Omega La La “Silly Fathers” and “Came Out of a Lady” (hilariously available now as a onesie) aren’t ready to leave the rotation though. Most exciting though, the band continued it’s slow and subtle evolution showcasing two brand new songs that will hopefully find their way into stores on a new album sometime in 2016.
First up was “Donna,” a song about imaginary lovers unrelated to the Richie Valens classic and just a smidge more upbeat. It featured Kalmia Traver back on the sax, something that has grown rarer, and Alex Toth making use of a megaphone. Later in the set, the band emerged with another new one, “Party Like Your Heart Hurts.” An apt title for a song by a band who brings a party every night and oozes love for their music, audience and life in general. With an undercurrent of electronics bubbling up, this one is immediately infectious and the crowd spent no time acclimating to the groove. It was as if they’d heard it a 100 times. Check out videos of both songs below.
After an hour long set that featured a tutu worn by multiple members of the band, confetti cannons, full-crowd jump-alongs, a horn march through the crowd, and Kalmia Traver riding through the crowd in an inflatable raft (impressively while still holding mic and singing), the audience wasn’t ready to quit this not-quite New Year’s Eve celebration. Rabidly chanting “One more song!” as loud as you will ever hear, when the band came back Alex Toth asked, “Is it OK if we play 2 songs?”
So two songs they played, the first a cover of Fugazi’s “Waiting Room” (video below) which brought a much harder edge to the mix. It served as a dynamic contrast to their usual bright sound and was a great addition to the repertoire. The night closed with “Save Charlie” and a huge balloon drop, including a massive blue octopus that snaked through the crowd. Rubblebucket continually out-Rubblebucket’s themselves over the New Year’s holiday, and Rochester happily hosted the party once again.