Rubblebucket with JuBee & The Morning After and Baby Baby

Rubblebucket - High Energy Headliners

Last week, on February 9th, I had a chance to see three great groups at the Cox Capitol Theater in downtown Macon. Sean Pritchard — of the Georgia-based indie-music-covering website, and the organizer of the event — gave me a heads up about the show a few weeks in advance, but I still almost missed it.

I am so glad that I didn’t.

I missed the first band of the evening, but I made it just in time for the first notes of Baby Baby’s raucous set. The Carrollton, Georgia-based band is known as much for their onstage antics, as their cheeky, hard-rock inflected music, and they didn’t disappoint.

Frontman Fontez Brooks led his shirtless bandmates through a number of new songs like “Rain” and “Haters,” along with what is arguably their most popular song, “Fire.” Since I first heard the band at another Blue Indian showcase in August of 2010, I’ve been amazed at their ability to connect with an audience through any means necessary.

Brooks jokes and playfully taunts from the stage as much as he sings. At the Capitol, he and his bandmates playfully chided the bartender for not comping their drinks, before launching into “Nerds,” a blistering, but tongue-in-cheek original.

Local favorites JuBee and The Morning After followed with a strong set of originals that explored and exploited the ever changing borders of pop, rock, and hip hop.

The band garnered nationwide attention last October when they appeared on the TV show Jimmy Kimmel Live, and in the ensuing months, they have only tightened their sound and group approach.

JuBee’s ability to shift between imploring vocals, hard-rock shouts, and dizzying rhymes is really amazing, and his band is always there to support him. Drummer Alex Scarborough is the propulsive heart of the band, locking up with bassist Danny Davis to provide a firm base for the band to open up for JuBee’s extrapolations, or one of guitarist Alec Stanley’s blues drenched solos.

The band is a little slick  and rehearsed for my taste, but their pop appeal was undeniable at the Capitol on an otherwise quiet Thursday night. By the time the leader introduced “On,” the piece that they performed on the Kimmel show a few months earlier, the vast majority of the crowd was in front of the stage dancing and singing along.

The Brooklyn-based band Rubblebucket closed out the night with an exuberant set of originals that incorporated afro-beat, jazz, Euro pop, and avant garde experimentation. This was my first time hearing the group, and I was really blown away, not only by their musical conception and group dynamic, but by their devotion to theatrics and performance.

Despite the relatively small crowd that remained for their extended set, Rubblebucket — expertly led by singer and baritone saxophonist Kalmia Traver and trumpeter Alex Toth — delivered an epic show. Covering songs from a recent spate of albums, along with a savvy cover of Blondie’s Heart of Glass, and incorporating fantastic props like a pair of ten foot, glittering robot figures that the performers strapped to their backs, the performance bordered on sensory overload in the very best sense.

If you have never heard Rubblebucket, you’re in for a treat. Seek out their records, or better yet, see them live!

In the mean time, check out these videos of the band in action:

Rubblebucket performs ‘Breatherz’ Live in Chicago from Northwoods Revolution on Vimeo.

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