The End 107.7 Deck The Hall Ball
Key Arena – Seattle, WA
Words/Photos by Jakobross424
Seattle radio station 107.7 The End are known for holding events with high-caliber musicians. Past events held by The End have included Foo Fighters, 311, Black Keys, Muse, Bad Religion, Presidents of the USA, and many more. So when they announced this year’s Deck the Hall Ball, I knew I would be in for a treat. After multiple failed attempts at winning tickets, my dad and I had to settle for upper seating at the huge Key Arena, where I saw System of a Down in May. The show featured an outstanding lineup, and most of the bands played amazingly, and not the ones you’d expect.
Rising stars Grouplove are a British hippie explosion of drug-fueled happiness. Just the name lets you know that they are one of three things:
1) a support group for depressed people.
2) an orgy.
3) a peace-love-and-understanding type band that preaches peace, love, and understanding.
Grouplove only played five songs (including their hits “Tongue Tied” and “Colours”) to a mostly empty Key Arena, but they put on a wonderful show. They were energetic, loud, and happy. It’s always great to see up-and-comers put on awesome shows.
Two Door Cinema Club:
Irish pop-rockers Two Door Cinema Club were the next band to hit the stage. I wouldn’t call them my favorite performance of the night, but it was cool to hear them play their hits live. Sure, I really only know like two songs by them, but they are a cool band that played cool songs. I guess I can call them the Irish version of Franz Ferdinand; not really energetic in their delivery, but their tunes were neat. The group hinted that they have another album on the way, so hopefully they’ll see an increase in fans here in the U.S. and good luck to them.
Young the Giant:
I was never a huge fan of Young the Giant. I didn’t really like their debut album all that much, but their show pretty much makes up for it. The songs were all very emotional and exciting, and the crowd seemed to explode when Young the Giant finished their short set with their hit single “My Body.” Would I pay to see them live? Probably not. But I can say that once you put them in an arena setting, Young the Giant are awesome performers.
Foster the People:
At this point in the show, I planned on hanging out and eating dinner and not watching Foster the People. After seeing them play on Saturday Night Live in October, I was less than impressed with their lack of showmanship, and I came to the conclusion that Foster the People are way overrated. By that point in time I had become sick of “Pumped Up Kicks,” and Foster had failed to release a single that matched it. As Foster the People came on stage and started playing, my dad and I decided to eat dinner in the arena and watch them play. And let me say right now, I was impressed. Maybe all Foster the People need was an arena setting in order to put on a massive show. The band played their hits as I was watching them (“Don’t Stop Talking To Me,” “Call It What You Want,” “Helena Beat”) and they finally ended their set with an energetic performance of their Grammy-nominated hit “Pumped Up Kicks,” which featured an interlude of the DJ Remix version of the song playing, as Mark Foster danced like no one was watching. So, Foster the People are good live, is what I am trying to say. And I imagine that their sold out performance at the Showbox SoDo wasn’t nearly as good as their sold out performance at Key Arena. Bravo.
Cage the Elephant:
Having seen Cage the Elephant earlier this year at the Showbox SoDo, I kinda new what to expect. But, whether you’ve seen them or not, you must know that Cage the Elephant put on a massive, scary, hard rockin, sexy performance every single time they perform anywhere ever. Matt did his signature stage dives (ironically, there is a rule at Key Arena against stage diving), and stood on top of the crowd during the band’s performance of “Sabertooth Tiger,” which they ended with. As I observed, I noticed that Key Arena can no longer be called Key Arena. See, arenas generally have roofs, and Cage the Elephant blew the roof off that place. Cage definitely deserve to be playing big venues and it’s awesome to see them perform as well as they did in such a big place.
Death Cab for Cutie:
Let me start out by saying this: Death Cab? More like Bored to Death Cab, am I right? In all seriousness, Death Cab did to me what I thought Foster the People would. Ben Gibbard (perhaps because of his recent divorce?) was sporting a beard and a lumberjack flannel. Yeah, because when I think manly men, I think the singer of Death Cab for Cutie. Anyway, after sitting through a few songs (including “Doors Unlocked and Open,” “I Will Possess Your Heart,” and “You Are a Tourist”) I just couldn’t handle anymore. Death Cab were boring me to tears, and I had to get out of there. I hung out in the food court area and waited for what felt like four hours until Death Cab finished. And then I was ready to be blown away by Marcus Mumford and his sons.
Mumford & Sons:
As the gear was set up, I was anxiously awaiting the night’s headliner Mumford & Sons. At 10:00 PM, 15 minutes behind schedule, the lights went out and the stage was dark. The crowd cheered and the opening to “Lover’s Eyes” began. I wasn’t sure if Mumford was actually up there singing because I couldn’t see him, but the lights eventually went up to reveal the British folk band. The band jumped into their most recent hit “Roll Away Your Stone,” which, surprisingly, spawned some jumping and a great deal of energy in the crowd down below. Mumford and Sons interacted with the crowd, talked about their day hanging out in Seattle (could you imagine shopping in Pike Place then meeting MARCUS MUMFORD!!??), and played their hits the way they should be played: in a huge arena with lots of people singing. They played for a good hour or so, and then left the stage. I was a little saddened to see that they hadn’t played “The Cave” yet, so I waited to see if they would come back for an encore. And they most certainly did. They played (and delayed) “The Cave” with huge intensity and put on one of the biggest rock shows I’ve ever seen. And they aren’t even really a rock band. All in all, a pretty great show. I got see Marcus Mumford play the drums, Death Cab for Cutie suck the Life Cab for Cutie out of me (see what I did there?), and Matt Schultz stand on people’s hands and look out at thousands of people. God bless America.