Photography by Steven Philips StSteven.com, Words by Kathleen Orlando

Thursday night’s show at Union Transfer brought a little Brooklyn to Philly, in the form of groovin’ beats, impressive vocals, and a fun vibe that whisked you back to younger days. Check out Survival Sounds, Rubblebucket’s new album.

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The opener, Body Language, brought a strong disco sound with soulful lyrics and a solid stage presence. The quartet spans many genres, replicating vintage R&B, Motown, and soul, combining them all with a fun pop element and a laid-back, slowed down indie feel. And they can make you dance. It’s hard not to, with catchy tracks like “Lose My Head”, from their latest album Grammar, and the straight-disco song, “Feel It”. Couple that with various members bouncing around the stage with infectious energy – most notably vocalist Angelica Bess, and you find yourself moving with energy you didn’t know you still had after another grueling workday.

Body Language

Body Language

Body Language also sports an impressive resume. Their drummer has worked on a song featured in Black Swan, and they’ve also done work with Passion Pit, Machinedrum, and Vacationer. While working on all of these outside projects, they also have just released Grammar, hot on the heels of last year’s album, Social Studies. The band finds their way into your heart fast, and hopefully they get as big in Philly as they have in New York, where they have a great habit of selling out most venues.

You’ll like Body Language if: you dig Basement Jaxx and Passion Pit; you think disco needs to make a comeback; you love vocalists who just purr.

Rubblebucket is a bit of a crazy experience to describe. Starting off, they are a large band sporting 7 members, each with a distinct presence and fairly snazzy getups and lots of dancing and jumping around. So you see all these wacky people onstage, and then you notice all the brass instruments, which I happen to love. I’m watching the lead, Kalmia Traver, in her mesh shirt and funky hair that suddenly I want, doing an odd robot dance. I’m watching various members behind her on the bass and brass bobbing their heads back and forth in sync. I’m watching all of this go down in front of a backdrop that consists of a crazy abstract painting that glows under UV, in front of funky lights and silhouettes of jellyfish, obscured by fog and some crazy light show that was very reminiscent of the old windows screensaver. The song lyrics vary from silly and juvenile – in a good way – to deep and poetic, all in the same track.

Rubblebucket

Rubblebucket

 

The effect is akin to a tennis match, bouncing from one literary style to another, bouncing from one sound to another. Their Soundcloud categorizes them as “alt rock”, “alternative”, “indie pop”, and while Rubblebucket is all of those things, they eclipse those categories and become something amazing. The showmanship is very reminiscent of the Flaming Lips to me (however I’ve only seen the Flaming Lips at various festivals, as opposed to Union Transfer, which is a considerably different setup), but done on a smaller scale, more intimately, in a way that makes you feel like the band is playing around with each other. Yes, they’re putting on a show, but they’re also just hanging out with each other, being silly, and we bought tickets to kick it with them. They weren’t afraid to mingle with the crowd, to get involved with their audience, and generally make it fun.

Leaving Stage for Audience and Lobby Jam

Leaving Stage for Audience and Lobby Jam

Rubblebucket finished on an incredible note, leaving the stage after a flurry of balloons to once again march through the crowd, ending the night with an impressive and immensely enjoyable jam session in the lobby.

You’ll like Rubblebucket if: you think saxophones are a necessity; you’re not afraid to be silly; you wonder, “Why can’t it always be fun (always, always, always!)?”