We stopped off Red River at Barbarella to see Mexico City's Hong Kong Blood Opera, decent Blood Brothers-style spazz-punk, buoyed by electrics and plenty of howling by the band's co-singers. If anything, they engaged the crowd and we hung around for a few cuts. Spoon and the brand-new Broken Bells closed things out at NPR's showcase at Stubb's, with Broken Bells bringing the sulk rather than anything interesting. The band, led by the Shins' James Mercer and producer Dangermouse, performed tracks from this year's self-titled debut. It wasn't anything groundbreaking or noteworthy more like a quasi-juiced Shins record with some extra swagger. We still love Danger Mouse, but really didn't care for Mercer's yelp or his phony tough persona this time around. Spoon, on the other hand, was in the pocket from note one, even if they came on a good 20 minutes late at 12:30 a.m. Britt Daniel was decked out in a leather jacket and the band played in shadows onstage aided by white panels. They ran out new stuff from January's Transference, opening with "Written In Reverse." The band seems to be revving up the piano angle and we aren't the only ones who are starting to hear a Joe Jackson ghost lurking throughout.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.