Material: For five years up to 2013, Robb Torres played lead guitar for still-active nu-metal band Trapt, the group best known for the 2002 single “Headstrong.” It’s a blessing that Robbery, Inc., Torres’ current project, sounds nothing like Trapt. Rather, what we have here is an alternative rock band that is far closer to the snotty, bar-room punk vibe of the Boomtown Rats blended with a dash of the Faces, than the post-grunge/nu-metal blend of his old band. Torres and his band mates are stretching their musical legs here, and the results make for a fascinating live show.
Musicianship: This is a band composed of three excellent musicians and, more importantly, the trio has obvious chemistry. Tight as hell, the musicianship is immaculate throughout. When offered the opportunity to serve up a few frills, Torres and Wei-Haas oblige expertly. Torres’ voice is an acquired taste, more punky ‘tude than power. Wei-Haas, meanwhile, does a fantastic job of filling the hole left by the lack of a bass guitarist while simultaneously providing more traditional, rhythmic keyboardist fare.
Performance: There’s honestly not a lot to look at. The three men take their respective positions at the start of the set and don’t leave them. There’s little in the way of chatter between the songs, besides a muted “thank you,” and there’s certainly no rock-star posturing––nothing that Torres might have picked during the stint with his former band. The joy is in watching them play passionately. Seeing the singer lean forward to his mic and straining his neck muscles for all they’re worth makes for compelling viewing, mind you.
Summary: Robbery, Inc. has all the ingredients to be a cult favorite. As things stand, however, any sort of commercial success is likely to be elusive. The songs are fun live but, the next morning, none of them were sticking around in the memory banks. But one gets the impression the band isn’t looking to smash the charts at present. Rather, this seems to be about making music that they can be proud of, doing things their own way, and seeing where it takes them organically.
The Players: Robb Torres, vocals, guitar; Jonah Wei-Haas, keyboards; Matt Camgros, drums.
Photo by Brett Callwood.
Venue: The Hotel Café
City: Hollywood, CA
Robbery, Inc. - "Crave"
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