Brendan Benson with Robbers on High Street
Thursday, Aug. 4
When a headliner doesn't realize (or perhaps care) that it's a bad idea to take a band better than you out on tour to open, we all win. Case in point: while Brendan Benson purveyed a shimmering set, the Robbers on High Street set advanced the bar.
Robbers on High Street
Robbers are a perfect mingling of the buoyant melodies of Supergrass and the quirky, but sophisticated side of Spoon punctuated by the clear, definitively stylish vocals of Ben Trokan. The Brooklyn quartet stuck close to the track listing of their latest release, Tree City, including "Japanese Girls," easily one of the top 10 singles of this year with "Amanda Green" following close behind.
Benson's alt-country/pop sound is oddly reminiscent of a Wilco/Ladybug Transistor mashup - organic and modern, but with a slightly retro AM-radioish twist.
On stage, Benson's use of space was stoic, even during his most up-tempo pop tracks like the near-disco jauntiness of album title track "Alternative to Love."
The sound clarity in the comfortably-full Birdy's allowed for the sort of close inspection and immediate absorption that gets new listeners lining up at the merch table.
Although an extremely complimentary bill, in the end, the pulse, flow, and energy of the evening's support act, Robbers on High Street, clearly topped that of headlining artist, Brendan Benson.