Deck the Hall with trendy alternative bands

Last Thursday, Eric and Christina took me to The End's Deck the Hall Ball, a concert sponsored by Seattle's 107.7 and held at Key Arena. The lineup read like a list of bands that would appear on the soundtrack of The O.C., or Zach Braff's Garden State followup soundtrack. The bands playing at the concert, in order of appearance (ascending order of popularity, I suspect), were the following:

Snow Patrol


The Shins

The Killers

Franz Ferdinand

Modest Mouse

Here's a set list for each band, along with iTunes links to each song

Each band was limited to about 40 minutes, which was fine for many of the bands who only had one CD or about 40 minutes worth of material anyhow. Christina and I missed all except the last two songs by Snow Patrol. We were downtown and planned to take the monorail over to Seattle Center, only to discover it wasn't running. Unlike NYC, there is no subway system, and the one bus that could have taken us there waited while we sprinted nearly two blocks to catch it, and then it shut its doors and left us in the dust just as we reached it.

Keane turned out to be three people. A lead singer, a keyboardist, and a drummer. No bass?! Not on this night, though the keyboardist had what appeared to be a Mac laptop sitting next to him, its screen flipped open and illuminated. Maybe the bass player was being piped in via some audio chat software. They didn't seem like rock stars, the lead singer being as friendly as he was. Some pretty emo-Britpop or whatever it's called, though the lead singers vocals were pumped out at too high a level.

The Shins sounded great.

The Killers are a blast to watch live. They've embraced their inner rock star, and "Somebody Told Me" is a great single. Sure, it all sounds vaguely reminiscent of stuff from The Cure, New Order, and a dozen other bands, but if we held every band to the standard of an original sound, we'd all be curmedgeonly rockists.

Franz Ferdinand look like a bunch of guys who used to get beat up in high school, except they all wear hip suits with skinny ties, so at least they were hip ahead of their time. Really catchy guitar riffs. I'm terrible with musical genres. Someone told me they qualify as post-pop. I have no idea what that means, but I picture a pop lying in bed, smoking a cigarette.

Modest Mouse was extremely subdued. Between the first several songs, not a word was uttered. Sasquatch, the Seattle Sonics mascot, joined the band for one song to play the tambourine. Or perhaps I'd just inhaled too much secondhand pot. A large flock of people left halfway through their set, either out of exhaustion or boredom, or both.