The Live Act: Broken Bells

Concerts are the best. The absolute, without a doubt, best. And after you’ve been to a variety of shows, festivals, bars, lounges, and arenas, you begin to appreciate the performances that truly stand out. The ones that make your jaw drop or your skin tingle—the ones that make you shut your eyes tight and fall into the epic immediacy of live sound.


Now, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am in love with James Mercer. He is calm and brilliant, understated and gifted — arguably the most influential singer songwriter to serenade my mid-20’s. Broken Bells, his side project (The Shins is his main band), is a collaboration of Mercer’s musical talents and mastermind Dangermouse, legendary producer of Gnarls Barkley, among others.

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The Live Act: London Grammar

Concerts are the best. The absolute, without a doubt, best. And after you’ve been to a variety of shows, festivals, bars, lounges, and arenas, you begin to appreciate the performances that truly stand out. The ones that make your jaw drop or your skin tingle—the ones that make you shut your eyes tight and fall into the epic immediacy of live sound.


London Grammar

A group of young Brits, London Grammar are just on the verge of “known.” They were introduced to me as a down-tempo Florence and the Machine, which I still find totally accurate. Stunning and intense vocals by Hannah Reid, synthy space sounds and electronic drums by the dreamy Dot Major, and quiet, controlled guitar licks by Dan Rothman make up this promising group.

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The Live Act: King Krule

Concerts are the best. The absolute, without a doubt, best. And after you’ve been to a variety of shows, festivals, bars, lounges, and arenas, you begin to appreciate the performances that truly stand out. The ones that make your jaw drop or your skin tingle—the ones that make you shut your eyes tight and fall into the epic immediacy of live sound.

Since moving to the Bay Area I have had the privilege and pleasure of seeing some excellent live acts, each of which is unique and inspiring in their own way. Stay tuned for many upcoming Live Act reviews.


King Krule

Now, you may not have heard of King Krule, aka Archy Marshall. You probably haven’t. That’s because the kid is 19, has released precisely one album (and one EP), and falls under the category of slow-blues growl-rock with deeply throated hip hop lyrics. A strange combo, to be sure.

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Melody in Milan

Milanfisa Music Store, Milan, Italy, Music, Guitars, InstrumentsThere is a feeling of exultation as you walk through the large, double paneled doors of a medieval church. Then there is the wonder one discovers as they step their toes onto the manicured lawns of a King’s former gardens, with its drooping trees and elaborate fountains. Or maybe shock and awe as you enter an ancient Roman theater, the rocks old with time and rain. Wherever we find ourselves while exploring there are those threshold moments, the crossing from this world into some other existence, some other time. Continue reading

The Shins in Tempest

They walked on stage like art-gallery attendees, little skinny jeans and old button up shirts, curious and quiet. There were six in total, the new lineup after a three-year hiatus, all of whom brought their own little flare to the old Shins songs, and a whole lot of dopeness to the new ones.

Right from the start they were on. James Mercer, my idol and manly soul mate (little does he know), picked up that faded-white Les Paul Jr. and that hushed persona vanished.

“Called to see, if your back was still aligned, and your sheets were growing grass all on the corners of your bed.”

The Shins Live
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