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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Up-Coming Concerts

Happy holidays to everyone. I'm excited for some really big concerts coming up. First of all, The Decemberists are coming back to town in support of their new album "The King is Dead." The Decemberists are a great band live, no matter how suckish their last album was (rock operas seldom work.) Anyway, here's a download link to their new single, which sounds a lot like an R.E.M song. Makes sense, because R.E.M's guitarist played on the new cd. They'll hit town February 6th at the State Theater.

After that comes Young the Giant. Young the Giant are a great new band from California, and they seem like they could be the next big buzz band. Perhaps 2011's Local Natives or Edward Sharpe? We'll see. Here's an acoustic version of the great song strings and a link to their amazing Daytrotter session. Their debut album comes out in late January, but it's already getting rave reviews. They'll be in town February 13th at the 7th Street Entry.

Lastly, I'll be trecking out to Chicago with my dad in March to see Bright Eyes! I've always loved Bright Eyes and never had a chance to see them, so I'm really pumped. They're new album, "The People's Key," comes out in February from Saddle Creek (of course.) I love the direction Conor's taken the band with new single Shell Games and hope that the live show matches up to it. Hopefully tracks from "Digital Ash in a Digital Urn" can be played too now, because of the new album's electronic direction. Their show is March 15th at the Riviera Theater in Chicago.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Broken Bells at First Avenue - December 6, 2010

Broken Bells descended on First Avenue on Monday night in the midst of a very brief North American tour. Broken bells has been touring for nine months behind their eponymous album now, so it was no surprise when they put on one of the tightest and most true to the album shoes of they year.

Luckily for me and the rest of the sold out crowd Broken Bells dragged opening band Maps & Atlases along with them. Going into the concert I had a whopping one-song long knowledge of this band. Going out I had a T-Shirt and a CD. The thing that made Maps & Atlases so great was a mixture of stage presence, the desire to have fun, and great music. Looking like a foursome confused about what direction they wanted to take musically (the lead singer looked like a cross between Robin Pecknold [looks] and Ezra Koenig [clothes],) they blended their obvious influences perfectly and put on a great show. The voice was very similar to The Tallest Man on Earth, while the bass lines in many songs were strikingly alike to Vampire Weekend. Somehow this combination worked perfectly. A slew of auxiliary percussion and a dancing bassist didn't hurt either, and Maps & Atlases turned out as one of the best bands I've seen in a while.

Although Maps & Atlases set the bar extremely high Broken Bells far exceed them, although not with the same tools that their support act had used. What Broken Bells lacked in stage personality (Danger Mouse never looked at the crowd,) they made up for in light show, accuracy, and sonic beauty. I was surprised from the minute opener "October" started with the accuracy of the instrumentation and James Mercer's voice. I came in expecting the worst from James' voice and I was blown away. They played every song from their album, a new song, a Dark Night of the Soul Song, and a spot on Neil Young cover. Although some of the songs from the middle of their good but not great debut album dragged along, the covers and rarity by far made up for it, as those were some of the highlights of the show.

Broken Bells came, saw, and conquered in their first and very likely only Minneapolis appearance, converting me from casual fan to rabid believer.

Broken Bells Setlist First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN, USA 2010