Reader Review: Broken Bells, Henry Fonda Theater, May 19, 2010

By Suzanne Marques | | @suzmarques


Rock The Bells

I’m not a big fan of chill music. I always say, give me something I can dance to. I do like that one song by the Shins, “New Slang.” Collective groan. I know, I know. But Broken Bells takes James Mercer’s lush and dreamy voice and funks it up with a beat. Now that, I can get behind.

I have this little obsession with Danger Mouse. The DJ/producer of Gorillaz’ Demon Days, The Black Keys, Beck’s Modern Guilt, The Tin Man in Gnarls Barkley. When he mashed up my beloved Beatles’ White Album with Jay-Z’s The Black Album I (just about) cried tears of joy. Mixing Rocky Raccoon with Justify My Thug? Get out. Yes, I love it.

So my girlfriend Christina offered me the ticket to the sold-out show at the Henry Fonda Music Box and my husband is friends with @ThadInHollywood who owns the theater, so I annoyed said husband to weasel us into the VIP section.

I swear I’m not shallow. I became spoiled a few weeks ago when Hole performed there and only got into VIP because another girlfriend is friends with Courtney Love. Now, that’s a long story.

Back to Broken Bells. As @goldenvoice tweeted, cute boys were in the house for the concert. Adrian Grenier of Entourage (who also has his own band The Honey Brothers) and Andrew Keegan who I remember best from 7th Heaven were lounging on the big black couches in VIP. Down on the floor, the crowd was chill and playful. Broken Bells opened the set with “Vaporize” as kaliedescopic patterns swirled on the back screen.

I thought the backdrop was a bit pared down, but got interesting between songs, when audience members made shadow puppets biting off the heads of unsuspecting roadies as they moved James’ guitar or set up Danger Mouse’s piano.

A highlight of the night was the duo’s cover of “Crimson & Clover,” which turned into a singalong with the crowd. “The High Road” and “The Ghost Inside” were all well-received and sounded just as great live as on the album. Their encore included a pared-down version “Insane Lullaby,” which they wrote with the late Sparklehorse. Broken Bells wrapped up the evening with my favorite song, “October.”

The only hiccup was when James forgot the opening lyrics to “The Mall and the Misery.” I wouldn’t even have noticed, but my girlfriend was recording it on her Blackberry, as she is obsessed with the song. She said he missed her favorite lyrics, words she lives by, you get the picture.

Use your intuition
It’s all you’ve got

After the set, which I’d estimate was about an hour long, (I can’t be specific, since we were loaded up with a dozen drink tokens and bound and determined to use all of them) we headed to the merch table. Thankfully a couple of drink tokens remained at the bottom of my purse, because we were short on cash. Luckily, bartering is still alive and well in Los Angeles and we scored t-shirts for the both of us at a steal.

I sported my pink sphere tee with pride as I shopped at Target in WeHo today.

PHOTO above: Danger Mouse of Broken Bells from the Troubadour back in March by Sung. Guessing he looked about the same at this show.

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