Spoon, Broken Bells Grab the Spotlight as SXSW 2010 Launches

March 18th, 2010 by Michael Hoinski Leave a reply »

Photograph by Krista De La Rosa
Broken Bells made a lot of noise the first day of the SXSW Music Festival with their “pop-up” show at a parking garage on Red River Street in downtown Austin. It took place at 1:00 pm and was packed to capacity. That trend continued at their Wednesday night NPR showcase at Stubb’s.

Catch up on 27 more reports — and see video — from SXSW’s Day One in our Twitter marathon roundup.

Despite what you’ve been told, Broken Bells are not a duo consisting of James Mercer, on hiatus from the Shins, and Danger Mouse, on hiatus from Gnarls Barkley. Last night they were a seven-piece band, with multiple guitars, horns, and keys that provided a platform for Mercer to kick out the jams. Broken Bells played their entire self-titled album, starting with the endearing, organ-infused first single “The High Road.” The ambient details Danger Mouse adds to Broken Bells’ songs are not as readily apparent in a live setting — his in-studio electronic curlicues were relegated to preprogrammed samples, as he mostly manned a drum kit — but still make the songs feel like more than just Shins tunes with new players.

While Broken Bells may still be in pursuit of their live voice — the show was one of the band’s handful of debut gigs — their onstage successor, Spoon, have had years to perfect a muscular, new-wave aesthetic. The Austin five-piece, augmented by a second percussionist, was introduced by the same disheveled fellow who introduced the Flaming Lips at a pre-SXSW gig in Austin last week attended by Spoon frontman Britt Daniel. (The guy said he was one of six people at the first ever Spoon show, where he reported that Daniel joked, “I wish I knew what it took to get people to like my music.”)

Spoon raced through songs from the albums Transfer...

Article Source: Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily


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