Robbers on High Street with Brendan Benson
Thursday, Aug. 4
Robbers on High Street will be back in Indianapolis this Thursday at Birdy’s with V2 recording artist Brendan Benson. Could there be a better way to promote a show than returning to a city just two weeks after playing a set raved to be one of the very best of a 450 band-weekend?
Robbers on High Street are a buzz band that has spent the last couple of years tangled in the logistics of a niche industry system that’s sustained, almost purely, by eating buzz bands whole.
To put it in perspective, one the biggest indie hipster faves of the last couple years, Arcade Fire, is a “successful” indie rock band. However, the definition of success between the indie label domain and the major label empire do not exist anywhere in the same universe. Arcade Fire’s (released 9/04) breakout album Funeral has sold just over 150,000 copies after being released almost a year ago while 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ scanned 872,000 copies in its opening week in 2/03. To get you really scratching your head, Britney Spears will basically be free to make as many horrifically difficult-to-watch reality shows as she pleases; the sales of her five albums top 75 million with single sales approaching the 40 million mark.
“Our record label is doing a good job of not doing new band overkill, which I’m very grateful for,” said Robbers frontman Ben Trokan in a recent phone interview with NUVO. He said he views their current path as a natural progression. “We don’t want anything to be falsified by having a bunch of money in marketing. I think we’re willing to eat mustard sandwiches for a while, and hope that things are achieved in a way that we’re comfortable with. Maybe if I’m 30 and still penniless I might have to reevaluate some things.”
Trokan spoke plaintively of the complexities of maintaining integrity. “You go to something like SXSW, and it’s a lot of fun, but I just felt immediately like we’re completely disposable. You’re just sort of one of a bajillion talked-about bands at the music conference, which is sort of its own little world. You just have to realize you’re sort of a commodity.” He added, “I’ve never felt like I’m competing with anybody; I don’t like competition. All this band stuff is supposed to be fun.” (www.robbersonhighstreet.com)