Considering the gigantic hype over the super-group collaboration between producer extraordinaire and savvy DJ, Danger Mouse, and The Shins' frontman, James Mercer (also known as Broken Bells), it was no surprise that The Regency was a well-stuffed house.
The Morning Benders opened with a very peculiar, yet intriguing new sound. Having seen them a few times before, we were perplexed by the harder riffs and edgier disposition, steering far from their former indie super-pop. A more complex version of Talking Through Tin Cans' "Damnit Anna," particularly caught our attention. Lead singer Chris Chu pumped out power ballads and really brought life to their latest album Big Echo.
Now, when you think of Broken Bells, you might think about Danger Mouse's powerhouse production abilities (see: The Grey Album genius, Gnarls Barkley, Gorillaz, The Black Keys, Beck...we could keep going), you might expect some big results from his own side-project. While the album is impressive talent-wise, perhaps Mercer and Danger Mouse haven't quite found their on stage groove just yet. A bland selection of songs in a very peculiar order (all the hits in the first 5 songs?), a few Shins' covers here, and a nice cover of "Crimson and Clover" there. It was all a little confusing. Mercer didn't even look up from his mic to say hello until around the 5th or 6th song, and while Danger Mouse was busy hopping around the stage to different instruments, we didn't even get to see anything of him besides his face down and a nice view of the top of his head. The awkward steamroll straight through the set-list attitude left viewers to lots of side convos, and even more greenery smoking than usual. You know what they say about idle hands...
While definitely two of the most musically talented out there today, the cold shoulder left us feeling a little unwanted at the show, and who wants to be rejected by Broken Bells?
For more photos, check out The Owl Mag's Flickr page here.