In Concert: R.U.B. at Central NY State Pride Fest
By Ran Waite, SYRACUSE QUEER TIMES
The latest sensation to rock New York City night spots swept into Syracuse on June 8, 2007. They loaded both of their rented tour vans (one broke down on the way) and made their way to upstate New York. R.U.B. is combination of two accomplished entities: Robert Urban and Steve Sullivan, both of the Robert Urban Band, plus Gordon Smith and Anthony "Ant" Maulella, both of the band Rubberlegs. R.U.B. is a play on words--combining the two bands' names.
These talented musicians offered their no holds barred, high-energy take on danceable and recognizable 80’s pop hits. They played to a small, but receptive crowd at X Bar. These men were ready to party. Upon taking the stage, Robert Urban called out “Syracuse, let’s have a look at you.” Despite the weather (just after a down pour), they were enthusiastic and started their first set with the Eurythmics’ hit “Here Comes The Rain Again.” They followed that with the Car’s “Good Times Roll,” Devo’s “Whip It,” The Pretender’s “Brass In Pocket,” Cyndi Lauper’s “Money Changes Everything,” the Beatles' "Birthday" and others. The songs were a veritable smorgasbord of memories. The energy and emotion of the original songs was sustained by this quartet.
There is a lot to be said for the appeal of a live performance: Robert on guitar and vocals, Steve on bass, Gordon on vocals and synthesizer and Ant on drums and percussion. As a pre-Pride party, these guys played their hearts out and whipped the crowd into a frenzy with these danceable gems. They were certainly dressed the part of rock stars: Robert's vitality shone in red boots, a "Wonder Woman" T-shirt and leather jeans, while Ant dripped sex appeal in a see-through shirt and a leather kilt. Gordon had on a jacket over his t-shirt, and when he took it off, several guys encouraged him to keep taking off his clothes, hmmm--a strip tease would have been interesting! Steve wore a solid colored T-shirt and jeans--he looked so serious :).
above - R.U.B. bassist STEVE SULLIVAN review writer RAN WAITE with R.U.B. keyboardist GORDON SMITH
below - amorous fan with R.U.B. guitaristROBERT URBAN R.U.B. drummer ANTHONY MAULLELA
These guys are all experienced musicians: Robert Urban was Outmusic's 2006 OutMusician of the Year; has recorded four albums; is founder and moderator of Gay Guitarists Worldwide; a contributing writer for AfterElton.com; and recently played at the HardRock Café in Paris, France at the Jeff Buckley French Tribute. Rubberlegs is an electropop band that rocks; they have been nominated for several awards and have released two CDs. All of these musicians have also lent their talents to a number of other artists/projects. These are all terrific musicians, two gay and two straight--try to figure that one out! LOL.
With references to Divas, birthdays and Pride, these guys emulated the energy of the Big Apple. While most of the tunes were from the 80's, there were some audience members who were barely born in the 80's but they still enjoyed these tunes. In the second set of the show, they showered us with more great tunes like Alicia Bridge's "I Love The NightLife," Marianne Faithful's "Broken English," Modern English's "I Melt With You," Adam Ant's "Goody Two Shoes," Flock of Seagulls' "I Ran (So Far Away)," and the Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)." They ended on a high note with Billy Idol's "White Wedding," but the crowd kept yelling for "one more." So what could these guys do? They obviously liked what they were doing, so they played another song: Generation X's "Dancing With Myself." This was a fun night; the songs, the passionate vocals, the energy and their killer solos (drums, guitar and keyboards) made it a vibrant party. Near the end of the evening Robert Urban turned to the audience and said "Thank you for enjoying live rock, thank you for having us." It was our pleasure, and BTW--their performance at Pride the next day was equally as memorable. - Ran Waite, Syracuse Queer Times