On the Beat: Rubblebucket take the stage this Friday at the Blue Moose Tap House

Rubblebucket Live
Rubblebucket return to Iowa City this Friday! — photo courtesy of The Zender Agenda

Rubblebucket w/ Rich Aucoin, The Olympics

Blue Moose Tap House – Dec. 6 at 9 p.m. ($15)

Rubblebucket are not strangers to Iowa City. The Brooklyn-based band have made multiple appearances here in Iowa City since their first visit during the Mission Creek Festival. While talking about their history is pretty straightforward, describing their music is a much more complicated procedure. It is not because it is esoteric, dense or heavily experimental. If anything, their music is visceral and in-the-moment, making people want to dance and get into the groove.

The difficulty with their music comes from the fact that it defies classification. Rubblebucket does not fit into one neat category. They merge psychedelic elements with dance music and a variety of other sounds including reggae and Afrobeat. Sometimes when you hear lead singer Kalmia Traver blow on her saxophone, it feels like the spirit of Fela Kuti is in the room, commanding the proceedings. At other times, the band can have the dub-style rhythms of old Lee “Scratch” Perry mixed with the otherworldly aspects of early Oneida. There are even more contrasts in sounds that appear during their sets. Given these various styles, the challenge of classification becomes apparent. While they do not classify very well, the large crowds that come out for them and their continual return to our town show that Rubblebucket and Iowa City get along very well.

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