Broken Bells go interstellar after sundown
Broken Bells’ Saturday set was a textbook example of a summer fest concert: a notable act with some well-known hits, a killer light setup and a big crowd swaying and waving hands in the air between swatting at the swarm of beachballs overhead. The duo of Danger Mouse, the producer with the Midas Touch, and the Shins’ vocalist James Mercer took to the stage with their band as the sun had its last hoorah over Zilker Park this evening and the temperatures dropped into “why didn’t I wear jeans today” digits.
With a sailor beard and a snazzy blazer, Mercer looked ready to rock, or teach a college literature class. (He decided to rock.) Danger Mouse hopped from bass to drum kit to keys duty as needed, while Mercer jangled on his acoustic-electric guitar and did his best Bee Gees impression.
The skeptic in me expected Mercer’s signature voice to faceplant on the high end, but his vocals never had one of those cringe-worthy misses as he stretched for those dangerous highs — even on “The High Road.”
It was a polished set of spacey rock, no doubt, but the visual component deserves special attention. The stellar-themed visualization behind the band shifted through the solar system before ultimately landing on a goregous sparkling scene with warm golden lighting, which may or may not have elicited an audible “ohh” from me. Sticking with the space theme, near the end of the set, human-sized celestial globes were released as (more) beach balls to bounce over the crowd. (Kudos to the unsung heroes who had to go round those up from intoxicated fans and hyper kids after the music ended.)