Deck the Hall Ball, the annual holiday concert event put on by 107.7 The End, happened last Wednesday at WaMu Theater, featuring Broken Bells and The Black Keys as the headlining acts, and special appearances by The Presidents of the United State of America and Santa and Jesus. The full evening of music kicked off early with the sonic musical distortions of Sleigh Bells, a musical duo consisting of Derek Miller on beat production and guitars, and Alexis Krauss on vocals. Though they performed with next to no stage lighting, Krauss’ dramatic hair flips and smooth, harmonic vocals perfectly accompanied the heavily crunched power chords and beats supplied by Miller.
Both the mood and atmosphere brightened considerably with the next act, The Temper Trap, making their third Washington appearance. These Aussies didn’t disappoint, with their grand guitars and pulsing rhythms offset by lead singer Dougy Mandagi’s high-pitched vocals. The Temper Trap played many well-known songs, including “Fader,” Love Lost,” and “Sweet Disposition.”
Popular 90’s band Cake made their comeback performance next, and to the shock of many, they really took the cake. Lead singer John McCrea’s lyrical wordplay was masterful and not far removed from the band’s recorded sound. Although Cake didn’t “go the distance” in their short time slot, they performed a bunch of old favorites including “So Sick of You,” and “Never There.” Cake is also preparing for the release of their new album on January 11th, and their full-length Seattle show at the Moore in February 2011.
Another ’90s band, Jimmy Eat World, took the stage next, and despite the current popularity of their new hits “Coffee and Cigarettes” and “My Best Theory,” their live show wasn’t very compelling. Still, hearing a bunch of their classic punk rock songs such as “The Middle” and “Sweetness” brought back a lot of memories, and the band’s rendition of “Last Christmas” seemed to be a crowd favorite.
By far the loudest, most exciting act of the evening was The Black Keys, whose well-known blues rock was full of smooth guitar riffs supplied by Dan Auerbach, and Patrick Carney’s furious drumming. The Akron, Ohio duo played a number of hits off their 2008 album Attack and Release, including “Strange Times” and “I Got Mine,” as well as songs from their newest album Brothers. With full energy and visual appeal, The Black Keys stole the show, delighting old fans and winning over new ones.
Broken Bells wrapped up this year’s Deck the Hall Ball, starting with a sleepy, instrumental opening song, following up with one of their current hits, “Ghost Inside.” If a good chunk of the audience left the building after The Black Keys, even more took off after “Ghost Inside.” While James Mercer and Danger Mouse’s side project may have produced a handful of radio hits, their live act just doesn’t appeal, especially when following a superstar act by The Black Keys.
Please enjoy photos from the show below! More photos are available here.
The Presidents of the United States of America
The Temper Trap
Jimmy Eat World
Atmosphere @ Deck the Hall Ball 2010
Show Review & Photos by Suzi Pratt