How many rock bands include a tuba in the instrumental repertoire? Robbers on High Street may be one of the few. It's featured on the waltzy "Guard at Your Heel," an ominous tune about joy-riding in the summertime—the sound reminiscent of a depressed drive into an apathetic hell. Though past efforts have been a little more rock-centric, Grand Animals is a riff on old-fashioned pop from the late '60s and early '70s. Giving Ben Folds a run for his money in terms of theatrical storytelling, the band weaves a variety of tales—a young couple live off of a highway exit in the scratchy-rocking "Married Young," a child dies tragically when hit by a car (but not before getting a visit from Leonardo DiCaprio) in the piano recital-esque "The Ramp," and a cabbie tells his story in the whimsically melancholy "Keys to the Century." Italian producer Daniele Luppi (Gnarles Barkley's St. Elsewhere) lends an orchestral sound to the band that is haunting and layered in ways that transcend a simplistic pop-rock tag. With Great Northern and Goodbye Girl Friday. 21+.
Sat., Nov. 17, 8 p.m., 2007