Broken Bells at Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Danger Mouse – also known as Brian Burton – is probably the most influential American producer of the last ten years, in terms of independent music. On his own he recorded The Grey Album – mixing up both The White Album by the Beatles and The Black Album by Jay Z – and he has produced Gnarls Barkley with CeeLo Green, together with several important names of the music business like Gorillaz, The Black Keys, Sparklehorse, David Lynch, Daniele Luppi, Beck and U2. James Mercer, formally leader of The Shins, has been playing music for many years, recording precious indie pop records like Wincing the Night Away (one of the best pop album of the noughties). Together they are Broken Bells and yesterday at Shepherd’s Bush Empire they played a sold-out show.
California’s Gardens & Villa open the live performance, showing one fresh and smart synth band onstage. Having just released the new record Dunes, the band played mostly their new songs with remarkable verve onstage, thanks to their clever mix of synth pop from the end of the 70s/early 80s (the flute of the singer Chris Lynch gives a personal touch the their music).
Broken Bells’ style is a unique combo of 90s vintage retro-futuristic pop, with some western music features and soft touches of psychedelia. Like in a soundtrack from American sci-fi movies from the 60s, the band set the stage in the shade of a lunar space stations, with white vintage keyboards, a silver globe in the middle, and superb optical and hypnotic visuals (truly remarkable).
The band played for almost two hours, with several encores; all the songs from the self-titled debut Broken Bells (2010) and from the new After the Disco. Starting with Perfect World followed up by The Ghost Inside and new single After the Disco, the band show their dance moods and disco features, moving on to more pop-psych areas with songs like Holding on for Life, Vaporize and Control. With Danger Mouse at the keyboards, bass and drums, Mercer at the guitars, plus the other two multi-instrumentalists on stage, the band show its skills and experience, entertaining the audience with great charisma and style.
For further information and future events visit Broken Bells’ website here.
Watch the video for After the Disco here: