For music fanatics, ViCE Jazz has organized a special treat for tomorrow night: a concert by the high-energy, indie-dance band Rubblebucket. ViCE Jazz Committee Member Toby Sola ’14 promises that attendees can expect to dance, and not to the tunes of your typical Villard room party.
“This is a chance to go to a Villard room party with taste – no cheesy DJ’s playing top 40,” he said in an emailed statement. “Instead, straight musical talent. I mean the regular Villard room parties are fun, don’t get me wrong, but this will be a musical orgy of the first decree.”
Rubblebucket was founded by couple Alex Toth and Kalmia Taver, who met while studying music at the University of Vermont. Toth, who plays the trumpet and does background vocals, and Travers, vocalist and saxophonist, have developed a sound that merges upbeat dance music and indie rock.
Since its founding, the band has gone on to gain national acclaim in the music scene, recently performing on Jimmy Kimmel Live and collaborating with Love. They have released three full-length albums and two extended plays (EPs). Their latest EP, “Oversaturated,” was named the third best EP of 2012 by Paste Magazine.
In 2009 the band went on three national tours. They have also appeared at several big music festivals, including High Sierra, All Good Music Festival, and the Liberate Music and Dance Festival.
Friday will not be the first time that Rubblebucket performs at Vassar. Sola brought the band to campus back in the spring of 2011, where they played in the Mug. Jazz Night also hosted them in 2010.
“It was a religious experience,” wrote Sola. “I’ve had many people come up to me and tell me it was the best concert of their entire lives and that because of the concert they are now diehard fans; they’ve gone to Rubblebucket shows outside of Vassar and they listen to their newest album every morning when they wake up.”
Like many Jazz bands, the group started out focusing more on improvisational work, but they have since begun to focus more on song-writing and structuring, an approach that has lead to a different live performance style.
Sola finds that this focus on lyricism and dance makes for more entertaining concerts and that it provides a somewhat different vibe than some of the other groups that come to Vassar.
“In terms of difference: while many bands that come to jazz night focus on improvisational music, Rubblebucket is focused on playing rehearsed songs,” wrote Sola.
“In my opinion, if done well, this focus is far superior because, through song writing, you can jam pack the entire show with coma inducing musical expression, as opposed to the once in a while cool riffs that improvisational bands live for,” he added.
In a NashvilleScene.com interview, Toth spoke to this change in direction for the band: “We started out as jazz kids and have since wrapped our heads around beat production and lots of sound-aesthetic stuff. The biggest change for me has been in songwriting and lyrics, just studying and learning great songs and figuring out what makes them tick,” (“Rubblebucket’s Alex Toth: The Cream Interview”, 9.27.2012).
This emphasis on songwriting and lyricism has also been accompanied with a shift towards dance music, a move that Sola believes allows for very stimulating live performances.
“Dancing is good for the soul, it relieves stress and makes you happier,” he wrote. “Musically, their song writing is brilliant; it forges a number of diverse genres and is incredibly catchy and danceable,” he continued.
In a conversation in InterviewMagazine.com, Traver spoke to the band’s love for performing live: “I’ve come to realize that going and doing a show is, like, going up close and touching people that I don’t do in my normal life, and it’s really powerful,” she said. “It feeds a need that I have—I think that we all have,” (“Rubblebucket Follows Its Heart”).
“I sit all day, working and thinking about this project in my room and getting my life organized and writing music and doing everything for the show. And when I’m at the show, it’s suddenly so much more real and awesome,” she said (InterviewMagazine.com, “Rubblebucket Follows Its Heart”).
She went on to discuss how performing live has grown to represent the culimation of the group’s hard work.
“I mean, at least for me, though, [the live show] is a permanent installation in my life. The times that we have had building this up from the ground up and just playing to empty rooms and forcing ourselves to feel really hard, feel the humanity all around us,” she said (InterviewMagazine.com, “Rubblebucket Follows Its Heart”).
According to Sola, any Vassar student who is a fan of bands with a lot of energy should come to the concert. “They have insane amounts of stage presence,” he wrote.
“They’re not just musicians, but true entertainers, in the full meaning of the word. Such acts, musicians and entertainers, are always few and far between in the music industry,” he added.
The concert starts tomorrow at 9 p.m. in the College Center Villard Room. “Be there or be rectangular,” wrote Sola.
“It’s seriously going to be the most fun, danceable music event Vassar has seen in years.”