LIVE REVIEW: Broken Bells, The Morning Benders @ The Regency Ballroom 5/22/2010
Dear Owl Mag,
Have you ever started dating someone new who’s totally fun and cool but you’re still feeling it out?Â And then one night you hang out with him and his friends and as the night goes on you realize that you’re more into one of his friends than him?Â You’ve been there right?Â Â I think I had that nightÂ on Friday.Â I went to the Regency Ballroom ready forÂ Broken BellsÂ to blow my mind but in the end, I left thinking about the Morning Benders.Â Yeah, yeahâ€¦maybe I’m a music slut with commitment issues but what can I sayâ€¦you can’t control your heart.
Maybe I was too excited, but I wasn’t the only one.Â When Broken Bells walked onstage, the whole crowd’s excitement was palpable.Â After a much buzzed about collaboration, followed by a much loved album, leading to a much anticipated tour, you could feel a “hell yeah” in the sold-out show air.Â Â With several other musicians accompanying them, and a video projection in the background, you knew that Danger MouseÂ andÂ James MercerÂ were going to bring it.Â You knew that they were going to take the tracks from their album and give them a live interpretation that would be so ridiculous that just talking about the show to friends would give you a music street cred that would last at least until Bonnaroo.
But alas this was not the case.Â Don’t get me wrong; their performance wasn’t bad by any means.Â Mercer’s voice made you feel privileged to be in his presence and Danger Mouse was perfection on every instrument he touched.Â But I just wanted more.Â With the skills of these two, I imagined a concoction of vocals, beats, and sounds that would be mixed in such a way that you would leave the show feeling like someone put something in your drink.Â But they didn’t vary too much from the album.Â They did perform a pretty rad cover ofÂ Tommy James and the Shondells’ “Crimson and Clover” that indeed left you with a â€˜beautiful feeling,’ but that was kinda it. Broken Bells gave a really solid performance, but I hope next time they take it up to the notch I know they can.
However, the performance I will be tweeting about isÂ The MorningÂ Benders’.Â They turned out a show that took me by surprise.Â In the past year, the loved local band has gained well deserved national acclaim after touring with the likes of Grizzly Bear and releasing their latest album Big Echo.Â While watching them playÂ Friday night,Â you could see subtleties in their performance that illuminated the grounds for their rise.Â Their down tempo version of “Dammit Anna” gave the song an unexpected melancholy tone that added a direction and depth that was a nice change of pace for theÂ upbeat song.Â And asÂ ChrisÂ Chu and the band ended their set with “Excuses,” the audience swayed and sang along to the soft and sweet tune in a way that turned the grand Regency Ballroom into a comfy, intimate space. The Morning Benders definitely had a presence that drew you in and their understated ending had me lingering for more.Â I guess what they say is right; it’s the quiet ones that you have to watch out for.