Thursday, March 11, 2010

Broken Bells and Plants And Animals Played Music Hall Of Williamsburg: Pictures, Review

Unexpected duo James Mercer of the Shins and Danger Mouse have made an excellent album as Broken Bells, but after seeing them live at Music Hall of Williamsburg last night, it finally made sense as to why they've clicked so well.

Before they took to the stage, however, we were psyched to discover that Plants and Animals would be opening the show! Long a fave here at HAD, not only did the band deliver a rock solid set, but they also brought a bunch of material from their new record out to play. Needless to say, we were more than a little enthused, and can't wait to catch them when they return in a headlining slot.

Soon after, Broken Bells made their way on stage. Now, note: these are not your typical rock stars. They’re both stoic and serious-minded on stage. No frills. No showboating. Rather than yearning to be the center of attention, they seem to want to get out of the way of the music. In fact, the entire set was played in front of a trippy looped video-art projection, leaving the band in the dark practically the whole time. Only venturing from behind the drums for a few songs, Danger Mouse seemed elusive – and Mercer downright shy.

If the music wasn't so hypnotic and well-executed, the show might have felt underwhelming. It was very short, even though they played all ten songs from the album. For the encore they covered Neil Young’s "Don't Let it Bring You Down" and Tommy James and the Shondells’ "Crimson and Clover". Then Mercer said, "Okay, let's get a drink," and that was that. Still, it’s hard not to admire these guys. The show left us with the urge to throw on our good headphones and listen to the album again and again, which is exactly what we're going to do.

Words and Pictures by Chris Goldberg.

More pictures at the HAD Archive.