Broken Bells – Show Review/Photo Gallery @ Humpreys by the Bay, Ca.

Broken Bells @ Humphreys by the Bay, San Diego, Ca.
May 18,2010
by Thirst’n Howl III

Broken Bells has been an unforeseen combination, somewhat akin to the beauty of the Kings’ (Elvis, duh!) favorite meal (Toasted sandwich,Peanut Butter, and Bananas).  Try one and you will see what the love affair is all about.  When James Mercer and Danger Mouse began to collobarate, I harbored some principal fears.  Would Mercers’ Shins sound and voice make it too soft and mushy, would Danger Mouses’ beats background make it too crisp and crunchy (are those beat references??  Well at least we know they are toasted sandwich references)  As much as this conundrum sounds difficult to overcome and be a delectable treat, they have indeed overcome.  The noise they have been able to produce is delicious for the ears and seeing them live is akin to sensory overload.

Humphreys by the Bay is a surreal location nestled in the fingerling bays of San Diego.  The stage sits between the palm trees and the water smothered in boats.  As the band took the stage, the entirety of those there rose to their feet and cheered.  This was to be the first night of the first tour for Broken Bells.  First night of their First tour!!

Fear of a shaky start was definitely present.  It was a fear unfounded.  They were flawless.  The sound of Broken Bells is a slight deviation from The Shins.  Trepidation was part of my pre-show warmup.  I was unsure how the man behind the blend of The Beatles/Jay-Z and Gnarls Barkley would merge with the silvery voiced frontman from The Shins.  The truth of the matter is that his presence is noticed in a handful of songs, but the feel is more of an upgrade akin to The Shins 2.0.  Lead off song was “Vaporize” which was quickly followed up by “The High Road” and the audience was hooked.  Bodies swayed and heads swooned.  The dominant song of the eve though was a cover of Tommy James and the Shondells “Crimson and Clover”.  The way Mercers’ voice colored the song, it became his song.  The encore brought Danger Mouse from behind the drums out to the piano and the entire seated audience rushed to the stage and ended the night afoot and content.

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1 Comment

  • Well, I’m glad SOMEONE found it to be a flawless performance, but I would NOT agree with this statement. Although it was a good performance, the beginning of the show was marred by almost inaudible vocals, and the total time, including the cover song AND encore, was under an hour!!! Tickets were in the $35 range before fees, which would seemingly warrant a full-length concert, but we got a short show. I’ve seen longer shows by artists that haven’t even released an album yet!!!
    The other downside was the early start time (7:30 sharp) and ending time of 10pm. This is mostly due to the venue, which is outdoors, surrounded by a marina and hotel rooms, but still took many people by surprise, causing some to miss a large portion of the headliner’s set.
    Also, there was an entire row (B3 row 17) of OBNOXIOUSLY drunken a**holes that caused the entire row in front of them to flee for quieter seats. If any of you read this, please do us all a favor, and stick to football games, where you belong. Thanks.

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