96.5 the Buzz’s Halloweenie Roast: Night 1

U-News Staff

Broken Bells headlined the first installment of 96.5 the Buzz’s Haloweenie Roast series last Thursday at the Midland Theatre. The evening was packed full of talented acts, but Broken Bells earned its premiere billing with a set full of tracks from its latest album, including the group’s radio singles, which propelled the band into mainstream popularity.

The evening began at 5:30 p.m. with Haerts and St. Lucia. Both acts played fantastic sets. In contrast to the evening’s gloomy weather, these bands brought a warmth and energy to the stage, which fired up the crowd for the main event.

Phantogram hit the stage around 8:00 p.m., and was welcomed by the excited audience. The duo out of Greenwich, New York began their set with a progressive bass-beat that evolved into a stunning visual and aural experience. Halfway through the set, lead vocalist Sarah Barthel donned a mirror and sequin-covered coat. The venue’s lighting reflected off of her jacket and bounced light throughout the auditorium, transforming her into a human disco ball. It was stunning.

[one_third last=”no”] Broken Bells is a marriage of Mercer and Burton’s creativity, and  the duo’s music is fresh and timeless. [/one_third]

Headliner Broken Bells entered the a dim, smoke-filled stage to a roaring crowd. The band immediately began its set with “Perfect World,” the opening track of the band’s 2014 album “After the Disco.” The band lost no momentum as it seamlessly transitioned into its 2010 hit single “The Ghost Inside.”

Broken Bells is a musically genius duo comprised of lead vocalist James Mercer, former front man of The Shins, and music producer and keyboardist Brian Burton, also known as artist Danger Mouse. Both musicians bring their talents together in a blend of experimental, indie and  electronic-rock. Burton’s beats build the songs while Mercer’s vocals float above melodies. Mercer’s haunting lyricism makes Broken Bells’ music both catchy and soulful. Burton was previously a member of Gnarls Barkley with CeeLo Green, and went on to produce, write and collaborate with several big industry names, such as The Black Keys, Norah Jones, Gorillaz  and Beck.

Broken Bells is a marriage of Mercer and Burton’s creativity, and  the duo’s music is fresh and timeless.

Broken Bells’ music was accompanied by a giant blood-moon projected onto the back of the stage. Shifting colors and stellar imagery brought the audience into a psychedelic trip through the stars.

The duo, joined by Dan Elkan and Jon Sortland for the live performance, seemed to lack energy during the show. In contrast to the sweaty, sporadic acts who preceded them, Broken Bells seemed content to play its music to the visuals while rarely getting involved with the crowd. Despite their casual performance style, Broken Bells’ sound championed the evening.

Broken Bells is currently touring with its album “After the Disco.” It is the band’s second album following the self-titled 2010 album “Broken Bells.”

Though the band has been critically and commercially successful in previous years, it has quietly built a loyal fan-base, evidenced by the packed auditorium. If Broken Bells continues to write and perform music of this caliber, its success will not remain quiet for long.