The Broken West started their tour with The Walkmen in the Big Apple, on March 8th, 2007, and while the L.A. boys’ sunny rock would seem a poor fit for a cold Manhattan night, The West definitely warmed up The Bowery Ballroom. Having just released their first full-length record, I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On, The Broken West look poised to deliver in 2007. Or, as guitarist/vocalist Ross Flournoy put it, “After tonight, the way you guys have been, I can tell you the answer is: We can go on.”
“On the Bubble” serves as the opener to I Can’t, and served even better as the opener to the set. The harmonized chorus, in particular, really got the crowd’s attention, which is never easy for an opening band. Unfortunately, some of that momentum was lost with “So It Goes” (also the second song on I Can’t), as “Bubble” live really outperformed its lead-out, in a way not found on the record. Flournoy’s switch to (plugged-in) acoustic guitar with “Goes” also softened the band’s impact a bit, just when The West really needed to grip the audience. It slipped a little more with the following “You Can Build an Island” (I Can’t's acoustic-y “Abigail” would have served better), and “Slow”, despite returning to full electric.
But The Broken West can’t get down, shown by the literally ‘sunny’ sound of “Hail Sunrise”. A five-plus minute indie-Beach Boys anthem, reminiscent of The Apples in Stereo, “Sunrise” could have woken up the crowd at dawn. The West followed that up with “Big City”, whose growth live matched the record-to-concert improvement of “On the Bubble”. That led the show to its high point: The West’s winning single, “Down in the Valley”. An exciting and enjoyable number, coming from the sun-drenched skies on both sides of the Rockies, it was the hook that the crowd wouldn’t easily shake that night. And finisher “Brass Ring” only left 'em wanting more.
The Walkmen had just come back up from Down Under, and the crowd was quite fervent, even impatient for their return. Yet for just over thirty minutes, The Broken West brought their own ray of sunshine to The Bowery Ballroom (QRO venue review), and after some early missteps, they shined it brightly. From New York, they & The Walkmen head south for a largely Confederate tour, and the warmer climes are sure to mean that The West will heat things up even more.