Broken Bells; Gentle Thunder

A calm breeze sailed through the streets, and a reflection of that feeling played out behind the doors of the Commodore Ballroom. Broken Bells played to a sold out venue, and none were to be disappointed. Starting the night was Morning Benders, who set the sweeping tone for the evening. The entirety of the show was gentle, yet dotted with explosive outbursts of instrumental talents.

Stepping out on the stage the foursome that is Morning Benders took front and center. Delving into their material, it was clear to see the diverse influences they have. The initial songs were near psychedelic, with rich full harmonious instrumentals, and hauntingly sweet vocals. Later into the set they starts playing pieces from their new album Big Echo, which was tasty. A few songs had reggae vibes, definitely echoing early Police rifts. Despite a few technical hiccups, they played a genuine course of heart felt numbers. The crowd was less then enthralled, which was a bit sad, as this band has copious amounts of talent. Keep your ear out for Morning Benders, they have something great, it just hasn’t punctured the surface yet.

After a brief interlude, as the horde refilled their beverages and amassed before the stage, the lights extinguished. Taking to the stage was the 7 piece, Broken Bells. The thrall of musically amorous were a flutter with energy. After the first note, and eruption of voices filled the room. It was obvious that the crowd was eager, and the band was humble to react.

Starting into their set it was magical, the singers were mesmerizing. The interplay between the plethora of instruments was mind boggling. Each beat of the drum ignited like a wick through the stage, and set off various accoutrement of guitar riffs and keyboard pieces. The harmony between the members was astounding, each one feeding off the other, building the song as it progressed. Having listened to the recordings, it does not do this band justice. James Mercer and Brian Burton, were front and center, but did not hog any of the lime light. It was a group effort and it was very pleasant to see them all contribute without some front man drinking all the appreciation for themselves.

The feel of this band is something that can only be appreciated live. The tender vocal passion flowing through that venue was intense and emotional. Yet it was wrapped in complex guitars and dirty drum beats. Building through the entire set, forcing the attendees to pay full attention as the level of intensity grew with each moment. Finally near the last few songs it culminated into an explosion of pure connection, everything was syncing; it was amazing.

Broken Bells are that rare live band that can curl your toes. Everything is emotional, and and the same time catchy. Identifying with the pieces was easy, the crowd was drawn to them like a moth to the flame. Anytime this group is to return, it would be a privilege to see them grow, and experience their presentation over and over. Filtering out into the night air, it was obvious by the pleasant smiles, everyone was feeling the same perfection.

Happy Concerting,

Jamie Taylor

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