REBUS | 11.25 | NYC

Life is filled with accomplished people who need to re-assure themselves of their stature by denigrating others and, even though they've earned respect through their performances, it's just dirty pool to be that way which is why it's so nice to be out in the scene and meet unbelievably talented people who are also down to earth and simply love to share what they do with others and create some joy in the world without rubbing anyone's face in it. Rebus reminds me of the knights I used to read about when I was a child. Deftly proficient and capable of astounding feats on the stage, they are one of the most enjoyble groups of guys I've ever been fortunate enough to know. Not only did I get to experience quality musicianship but it was also nice to hear of them on the road with their two man lighting/stage crew as well as how they resolve the issues that are due to arise during the evolution of any band. And it's more than obvious how much they care about what they do in the details they employ on their website on the equipment and instruments they use. Anyone can go out to a music store and bang away but a true professional is always conscious of the differences that exist between one type or another and how that relates to the sound that they wish to produce.

The first time I caught these guys, was the night after I saw Phish at Hershey Park so I was rarin' for something that would keep the wave rolling and was more than impressed by their epic performance in the Lounge at the Wetlands. Needless to say, the date at the Lion's Den was immediately marked on my calendar as soon as I heard of it. It started with Kyle Poehling warming things up on the drums like pizza dough flying up in the air higher and wider in form with each successive toss and then back down to a more meditative state, building back slowly and diversely. Bassist Pete Knowlton is one of the strongest I've seen out there and pulls the guys through, allowing his compatriots to feel around in different directions with the concentration and focus of wise passion. Pete's an avid taper too so it's a lot of fun to hear some of the tricks and toys of sound that jamheads all over have come to love in the changes and improvisations, extensions and mood additions that you wouldn't hear on their demo which I find I can listen to in any state of mind and feel it.

They swing effortlessly from jam to song to jam, challenging you to find where they went from one to the other playing songs like A Day in the Leaf and Jimmy's in the City, both tunes that have a lot to offer. Their jazzy influence provides them with a free feel and light touch balanced by Pete's funk and the mix of R&B, soul, dissonance and other styles that James Pace will share with you on the boards, driven carefully yet very creatively by Kyle the whole way through. And have you seen Marc Ribot? If you have, then Andrew Crater is your man. Much like the downtown scene's eminent guitarist, Andrew doesn't dominate the band's overall sound but there's no doubt he's there, contributing generously and very pleasantly with an obvious sense of heartfelt artistry.

Ending the night with the addition of Fat Mama's brass section, I kept getting the vision of an old fashioned wooden top with a variety of colors and shapes painted on it. It's the kind that you wind carefully with a string, one loop over the other to produce the smoothest pull before it's released to spin you something that's very multipowerful. Next up for Rebus is a 12/6 gig with Everything Bagels at the 13th Floor in Baltimore but that won't be all. Continuing through February, the guys have published dates in Virginia and Pennsylvania and, I hope, a few more up my way because, to me, Rebus represents the generous heart and openly creative spirit that I love most about our scene.

Howie Greenberg
JamBase NYC Correspondent
Go See Live Music!

[Published on: 11/30/00]

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