By Lauren Hillery
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 21, 2004
For New York rockers Robbers on High Street, putting on a high energy show is all about convincing the audience you're having fun ... and a little bit of liquor.
"You don't want to act like you're unapproachable. You want to be as genuine as you can be, but still entertain," said Ben Troken, vocals and guitar.
Although they've been together for two and half years, Troken and guitarist Steve Mercado, have known each other since age 12. When Troken and Mercado put the band together they chose friends and former band mates Jeremy Phillips on bass and Tomer Danan on drums.
With their winning twist on rock music, Robbers on High Street uses the newly repopularized classic rock sound and mixes it with their New York flair, resulting in some dynamic sounds.
Robbers on High Street has done quite a bit of moving in a short amount of time, traveling overseas and across the country.
Troken enjoyed the music scene in the Northwest.
"Portland and Seattle have pretty solid music scenes. It's a lot more laid back and everyone knows each other," Troken said.
However, Troken believes there are positives and negatives to playing at home. While, playing in New York is comfortable and like a big party for him, he believes playing outside the city is actually easier for bodily necessities.
"It's a lot easier afterwards to make your way towards the bathroom or get a drink," Troken said.
No matter what city they're in, Robbers has a few rituals to get the audience into their set.
"I usually kick Steve in the ass. He minds that," Troken said.
According to Troken, depending on the album, their music can fit with any mood of the weekend.
"Maybe the EP is for Saturday night and the new album is for Sunday afternoon," Troken explained.
Though they're not embarrassed when it comes to roughing each other up on stage, they recall a few interesting gigs they were forced to play.
In Rock Island, Ill., at a town festival, they ended up playing on stage after a 1950s rock cover band, and before a Disney Channel personality. But the headliner was Jordan Knight, former New Kids on the Block member.
"It was something else, man. It was really bizarre. I don't know how we landed that gig," Troken said.
But now that they're accustomed to a bit of the bizarre show bookings that can happen in the music business, Troken says he would like to play a show in Belize.
"There's this place where you live in huts and there's monkeys everywhere. Yeah, I'd like to play there," Troken said.
Back in the real world of music, however, Troken has his opinions about the mainstream music scene today. He comments on the wide range of popular music played on radio stations and believes the genres don't mix well together.
"You'll hear Britney Spears and then you'll hear Avril Lavigne and then you'll hear The White Stripes. What the hell kind of fucked up mix tape is that?" Troken asked.
Robbers on High Street will open for John Vanderslice at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., Monday from 10:30 p.m. to 11:15 p.m. Tickets cost $9. The show is 21+.