I will save you the story of how I won 2 (two) free tickets to a Broken Bells Live on Letterman webcast. Fast forward to this past Monday, June 23rd…
theater usher: would you girls like to sit on stage?
me+my friend: uh… yeah??! *sit on the stage @ Ed Sullivan theater*
scene: Ed Sullivan theater, 50-something and Broadway (NYC), James Mercer and Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) take the stage….
I chose to take my good friend Stef, as she had shown me 2 years ago the power couple that James Mercer (a favorite singer-songwriter of mine) and Danger Mouse (a favorite producer of mine) had become when they adopted the band name Broken Bells in 2009. See classics: “October,” “The High Road,” “The Ghost Inside” etc.
Most recently, the band has released a second full-length album entitled After The Disco. See: “Holding on for Life,” “After The Disco,” “Medicine,” “Perfect World” etc.
Now I had always imagined that seeing James Mercer perform live would touch my soul. However, I was not prepared for the transformation it would undergo in merely an hour of live performance from Broken Bells. Nothing could have prepared Stef and I for stage (courtside) seats, a kayak’s length away - much less a set that included all of our (and nothing but) our favorites. By the set’s finish I thought that surely, even after a vinyl purchase, these records would never sound the same.
Mercer, Burton, and their soulful bandmates played a set that brought something new to the already captivating Broken Bells tunes. Their live performance did what every ‘live’ performance should do… It gave life to studio songs that convey the complexity of human existence, love, and everything in-between. Mercer gave the audience some reasonable advice in his lyrics, while Burton jammed his approval on drums, bass, etc. In real time, the band passionately wove together familiar sonic waves - creating one of the most breath-taking invasion of the senses it has been my pleasure to experience.
With their sophomore album After The Disco, both Mercer and Burton have confirmed that Broken Bells is not just a new side project. Rather, it is a showcase of refined musicianship, creative potential, and the wisdom that comes with age. Prior to Broken Bells’ conception, both musicians had already built impressive discographies. Mercer is well-known for his band The Shins (among other projects), and Burton for his major roles in the production of a few The Black Keys’ albums (among other projects, see: The Gorillaz Demon Days). Casual…
"Don’t run, don’t rush. Just flow." October Broken Bells
Watch the full set here: