James Mercer performs with The Shins at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music Festival. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)
Like a lonely prophet with a poetic touch, James Mercer was the focal point of the Broken Bells show Sunday at the Moore Theatre, but he and artist-producer Brian Burton (a.k.a. Danger Mouse) proved that their act is greater than the sum of its parts.
Mercer (better known as the frontman of indie rock group The Shins) belted, cajoled and even whistled for a full house, singing with an emotional urgency that sometimes verged on anger. Dressed more like a college professor than a rock star, Mercer clutched his mic like it was a life preserver, taking to heart the words in his song “Holding on For Life.”