The in-between Coachella week may not get as much coverage as the main event, but here in California, last week was a magical, musical experience for concertgoers. Many Coachella first-weekenders attended shows following their desert experience in order to get one last fix of sonic awesomeness, whereas second-weekenders attended shows to get a sneak peek of great things to come. Broken Bells’ concert at The Fonda was no exception.
Broken Bells in L.A.
The communal, artsy feel of Coachella was reflected in the crowd on this night, as everyone was in a state of constant bliss from hearing great music and having the opportunity to witness their favorite performers share their genius with them.
Broken Bells’ performance easily made its mark as one of the most spectacular nights yet in my mere two decades of life, and no, not because it was on Tax Day. The band performed a surreal, intimate show at The Fonda Theatre and quite simply, James Mercer and Danger Mouse could not have been better.
Brooklyn-based synth-pop trio Au Revoir Simone opened up for the main act. Their music had a whimsical, light feel to it, which complemented the Bells’ darker, deeper feel. Yet, when Broken Bells finally took the stage with their two supporting musicians, the crowd fell into a state of awe.
The first song of the night was “Perfect World,” which is also the first song on After the Disco, the second album they debuted earlier this year. From there on, they alternated back and forth between their first album, Broken Bells, and the most recent one. This method of interweaving all of their songs really emphasized that their style has remained true to the core throughout the years. The common themes of maturation, love, loss, and the overall meanings of life are reflected in each fragment of their discography.
Highlights of the night included the performance of one of my personal favorites, “The Angel and the Fool,” when Burton and Mercer retreated towards the back of the stage, hiding themselves from the audience and leaving only their shadows projected on a white background. This display looked amazing and fit so well with the color scheme of the stage set – mostly whites, purples, magentas, and greys – amplifying the space-age, extraterrestrial vibe to the music.
This show was especially memorable for me, as I’m sure it was for others, because throughout the years I’ve been able to relate so strongly with the songs and the lyrics that seem to shape themselves so adequately to each listener’s personal situation. Actually, several other fans have agreed on the common notion that the music of Broken Bells becomes a soundtrack to each person’s life, remaining essential throughout universal human experiences.
The magical night was concluded during the encore, where they performed a true fan favorite: “October.” In fact, when Mercer sang the lines “No doubt you think you braided your own hair, so you’re all grown up,” it felt like the universe had stopped and the singer was addressing all of his younger fans (including me) on growing up too fast and losing a sense of innocence too abruptly.
Ultimately, Broken Bells are an awesome live act. They rocked the stage at Coachella (twice) and proved their genius onstage at the Fonda.