Can’t Stop, Animal Tropical drummer Jorge Rubiera’s new project, played their second show on Saturday night at Sweat Records to celebrate the release of the 12-song LP Neighborhood. “Their” might be the wrong pronoun as Can’t Stop’s only official member is Rubiera, who played every instrument except sax and flute on Neighborhood. But in both shows Rubiera played with a full band, including Animal Tropical mate Jarrett Hann on bass and Plains’ Michael McGinnis on drums at the Sweat show.
Having caught both Can’t Stop shows and listened to Neighborhood several times through, I’ve formed a preference for the live version of the songs. On the record, Rubiera indulges a confessed childhood love of ambient noise with scratches (“Thanks To JV”, #11 on our Top 15 SoFla Songs of 2010), sirens (“We’re Still Frenulums”), and static (“R-Complex”). But I’m not sure the noise adds much but noise to the songs, and part of me feels I’d like them more without the interference, which is how Rubiera plays them live.
Another reason I prefer live Can’t Stop to recorded Can’t Stop: the latter doesn’t do justice to Rubiera’s strong and instantly likable voice. This is most apparent with Neighborhood opener “Amygdala”. On the record, you might take the refrain “Get up, get going, get in a trance” as a sober request. Live it’s a freaking demand, albeit an unnecessary one, since the old-school backbeat and sax riff that drive the song out the gate will have most able-bodied listeners up and going before Rubiera sings his first syllable. The recorded version of “Amygdala” gets noisy midway through with some sustained guitar yawping, and again I’d prefer it didn’t, if only because it cuts into the tune’s killer groove (reminiscent of The Doors’ “Land Ho!”).