Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Pearl Street to host jam band lineup with Rubblebucket and Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad

Rubblebucket, formerly known as Rubblebucket Orchestra, will bring their eight-piece big band to Pearl Street’s Clubroom tonight, along with reggae act Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad.

Rubblebucket’s eclectic style is a fusion of many different musical genres, including jazz, funk, reggae, as well as some African influence. Fronted by lead singer Kalmia Traver, who also plays saxophone, the energetic octet features a full horn section, including bandleader Alex Toth on trumpet and Adam Dotson on trombone. Rounding out the band is a robust rhythm section, including the percussion duo of Craig Myers and Dave Cole, Darby Wolf on keyboards, bassist Mark Stewart and guitarist Ian Hersey.

The band originally formed in Vermont in 2007, but also has roots in Jamaica Plain. They’ve already gained quite the reputation in their short existence, as they have been nominated for “Best Live Act” by the Boston Music Awards.

Rubblebucket’s recently released second album, which is self-titled, is loud, intense, intricate and very well put together. The music is highlighted by catchy, bright horn parts that are accented by an extremely tight rhythm section, clearly adept at keeping time with a myriad of different grooves and styles. Myers, who has traveled extensively in Africa and has studied music there, brings a unique feel to the table. Traver’s vocals are extremely clear and resonant, while still fitting her band’s fervent style in a righteous, deliberate manner. Their first single off the new album “Bikes” features their versatility admirably, as Travers mixes in some scat singing while Dotson unleashes a mean trombone solo.

Although they have been referred to as a jam band at times, they have demonstrated a clear preference for song craftsmanship over improvisation. They have drawn influence from bands like Phish, and have even opened up for their bassist Mike Gordon. However, Rubblebucket will occasionally unleash some spontaneous creativity when playing live, which is part of why they’ve gained so much notoriety as a great live act.

Rubblebucket will be preceded onstage by Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad. This four piece reggae group, consisting of a more traditional lineup, includes a guitarist, bassist, drummer and keyboardist. This light hearted, spirited ensemble formed in Rochester, NY in 2004. They have dabbled heavily in the dub sub-genre, which involves re-arranging and re-working original recordings. GPGDS as they are often called has gained a significant following through extensive touring (500 shows in the last three years), steady airplay on XM Radio, as well as opening for more well-known reggae acts such as Toots and the Maytals and The Wailers. They have recently released their live album “Live Up!,” which features live performances from shows when they were a six piece act.

If you are looking to see some different music with a bit of a multicultural flair, this may be the show for you. The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets cost $10 at the door. For more information, visit

Dave Mansfield can be reached at [email protected].

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    JeffDec 9, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Thanks for this article. The show was incredible! I love both these bands and it was a treat to see them play together. Giant Panda’s new album LIVE UP! is off the chain, go get it