Robbers on High Street
February 27, 2005 – Crocodile Café – Seattle, WA
by Ashley Graham

A half hour after
Million Dollar Baby took home the Oscar for Best Picture, Robbers on High Street lead singer Ben Trokan thanked his audience for skipping the night’s “other” festivities in favor of his band’s show at Seattle’s Crocodile Café.

“Thanks for coming out. I know it’s Oscar night, I’d rather be home watching TV too,” Trokan says and then pauses. “Well, no I wouldn’t. Actually, yes I would.”

Guitarist Steve Mercado shoots him a look, “That’s real nice,” he says.

The two laugh it off and launch into the first song of the night.  Those in the audience who are seeing Robbers for the first time may laugh it off too, but to someone who’s seen them four times in the last seven months, it seems a possible early indication of a show I’d dreaded would come eventually.  After nearly a solid year on the road, is Robbers on High Street finally starting to show signs of exhaustion?

There are a few things setting this show apart from the previous ones.  New recruit on bass, Morgan King, who joined the band sometime around the holidays after the departure of Jeremy Phillips, is fresh-faced and though the word isn’t lively, he is adding something new to the line-up.  The boys, Trokan, Mercado, King and drummer Tomer Danan, are spread out on the stage which would be more distracting and distancing if not for Mercado, who is the night’s entertainer.  He covers a lot of ground on the stage and seems to still be having a good time.  Danan is as good behind the drums as ever and Trokan’s voice is still strong.  The songs still sound great.

Their first show in Seattle after the release of their full-length album
Tree City, however, doesn’t have the same spark as those of the months before it.  The songs still have the same quality but the personality of the band is showing less.  Overall, yes, the show is still great on an auditory level, but it’s starting to lack in showmanship.

It’s understandable, but is it okay?  I refuse to judge too quickly and so when Robbers return in May I’ll be there to see where two more months have taken them.  And despite any possible weaknesses, you should be there too.
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