BEING THERE: Broken Bells @ The Electric Factory


Broken Bells took the stage last night at the Electric Factory on a set up that that looked less like the gear of an acclaimed indie all-star analog pop band and more like the control center of a space ship. The centerpiece of it all, of course, was the silver orb, around which two great names in the music biz would stand—James Mercer, of The Shins and Danger Mouse, famed producer. It was great for anyone in the crowd who was halfway to a parallel universe and already having really deep thoughts about space. Besides the one guy in a wife beater smoking a joint dangerously close to an innocent ten-year-old girl and her mother, the majority of the crowd was various dads wearing khakis. But for those of us who weren’t anatomically capable of being a cool dad and/or sly and determined enough to bring our narcotics through the Electric Factory feel-up, the show was less than mind-blowing. Broken Bells started out on a squeaky clean note with songs from their newest album, After the Disco, the title of which was probably the first indication that we had already missed the fun stuff. Technically speaking, Broken Bells sounded great, able to recreate their well-polished studio recordings note for note, but that made the show predictable and dull. To top it all off, the visual projections behind the band were like a mix of tired, old space-themed screensavers, and close-up, colorful microscope shots of the Ebola virus. After hearing essentially the same song being played about 15 times with a constant lag in energy, the show came to an anticlimactic close. I left thinking Broken Bells was sort of like the robotic band that plays at Chuck-E-Cheese’s, but for dads who spend a lot of miserable days in the office thinking about, like, space, man. — MARY LYNN DOMINGUEZ