New York’s Robbers on High Street seemed out of place as they took the stage at First Avenue’s Entry Friday night. It wasn’t the DAV sweaters nor hipster air of superiority. Pure melodic pop, barbershop harmonies and catchy choruses meant for the frat party scene of a college movie just don’t seem natural to a venue known for it’s gritty rock and roll past.
Busting through tracks from their new summer LP, Grand Animals (review), it was still “The Fatalist” off their old EP (review) that’s the crown jewel in ROHS’ crown. Even live, this band exudes formulaic indie rock that gets heads bobbing and will surely sell records. At the end of the day, it’s up to you if that’s okay.
At their July headlining Entry gig (review), Great Northern vocalist/keyboardist Rachel Stolte told us she and husband/guitarist/vocalist Solon Bixler (interview) had purchased a 4-track recorder so they could down tracks on tour. They premiered one of those songs last night without sharing the title — a stripped down song architecture with a monotone chorus in the vein, “This king of ours will burn…”
The other new one last night, “Loose Ends,” was actually very old. Thanks to the success of Great Northern’s full-length debut, Trading Twilight for Daylight, Eenie Meanie Records formerly released the group’s prior EP, aptly titled Sleepy Eepee (review). Members from Robbers on High Street joined the stage on trumpet, keys and jingle bells for added effect.
Other highlights of the night included “The Middle,” “Into the Sun,” and particularly â€œLow is a New Height,â€ with its rich sampling and circular 6/8 rhythms — further reinforcing why we call this group a master of mesmerizing sonicisms.
Oh yeah, the night kicked off with a short anthropology lesson on the evolution of white tail deer thanks to a grad student who spends her days dissecting deer carcasses and weekends talking to rockstars about how deer thrive with increased hunting and environmental pressure in hopes to get on stage and share with a larger audience.