It seemed like everybody in town was at Seattle's WaMu Theater last night for local radio station 107.7 the end's annual Deck the Hall Ball. It's a big cavernous barn of a place and not exactly my favorite venue in town for sure, but the line-up was interesting enough for me to jump on tickets right away: Sleigh Bells, The Temper Trap, Cake, Jimmy Eat World, the Black Keys, and Broken Bells. Being that it was an all-ages show and I knew my daughter liked several of the bands, I asked her if she would like to attend with me, with the caveat that she must attend school in a non-sleeping way the next day. She enthusiastically replied that she would indeed love to go, and that she never sleeps, ever.

(A NOTE: I put in an ask to the promo guy at the station to photograph the show, but never received a response. We must make do then with the leetle cameras and art work from MissEight to provide you with the strange content that readers of this blog have come to expect. USA USA USA!)

The review shall be divided by attendee commentary.

Me: We arrived at the theater around 4:30PM to make the 4:45PM set by opener Sleigh Bells. I love their sound, sort of like if you mixed a totally blown-out stereo speaker with hip-hop sub-bass and put sweet girly vocals on top, then pushed it through wire mesh. (I had been previously warned that they would be very loud, as one would imagine, so I purchased noise-reduction headphones in pink camo for MissEight.) I didn't know anything else about them and was a bit surprised to find them a duo only. The venue, unfortunately, made mud of their big sound, which was too bad. I liked them, but also felt the vocals ended up being too thin for the giant live sound -- they were swallowed up. I'd love to see Sleigh Bells add a second female vocalist to double the lines and add live drums. TWO live drummers! Yes, that would be very very cool indeed. Couldn't use the camera. Security everywhere.

MissEight: They were good and loud. I'm hungry.

(Pizza was purchased. Drawings were made.)

Me: Next up, The Temper Trap. Very passionate, with a solidly-'80s-retro sound that mixed The Edge guitar work and Frankie Goes To Hollywood in a non-ironic way. There was at least one unnecessary mustache. I liked them, and didn't expect to, so that was nice. No photos. Bugger off, security, will ya?

MissEight: They were awesome. They played nicely.

(MissEight decides to make a list of all the bands she's seen this year.)

Me: Time for Cake. They were exactly as you would have expected from all of their records: very tight, very precise, amusing, professional, and quite good. There was a distinct difference in showmanship between Cake, who have been around awhile, and the two previous bands. Circle Of Life. Getting a floor of smooshed-together cattle to sing two different song lines at the same time is an acquired skill. Why they played for only 30 minutes, I do not know.

MissEight: They were really good and the Cake guy was funny.

(OK, a couple photos at last. Not even close to what the 60D would have gotten of course, but considering how far away I was, hell, it's OK.)

(MissEight makes a list of bands she'd like to see. She does realize that Elvis Presley is no more.)

(Time for a walk. We get donuts from the Top Pot concession. While we are gone, the special unannounced guests, The Presidents Of the United States Of America, take the stage and perform a quick couple songs, I believe.)

Me: Well, then it was Jimmy Eats World's time to play. I did not like them. In fact, I disliked them more and more as their set went on. They seemed to be the very definition of bland generic alt music. I did not take pictures of them because I didn't want to. So there.

MissEight: It was...ok.

(At this point I became aware of a large man who didn't smell good sitting in the row in front of me. He was wearing a "GIT R DONE" baseball hat. Sigh. MissEight made a final list: bands she never wants to see.)

Me: I was really looking forward to seeing the Black Keys play as I missed out on getting tickets for their recent show at the Paramount here. They've really grown on me over this year, and I like the duo's fresh pop take on gritty electric blues. The crowd was thrilled by them, and their high-energy set was the clear winner of the evening. Except for one certain concertgoer...

MissEight: I was sleeping. Sorry!

MissEight: Tell them that Jesus and Santa came onstage!

Me: It's true!

Me: At last, the band both of us most wanted to see to close out the show, Broken Bells. I had seen them previously in the year at a sold-out show at the Showbox at the Market and really enjoyed it, even though I thought their set was too short and the performance a bit dour. This time, the performance was enhanced by the confidence of playing many, many more shows since then to all kinds of crowds, but their rather subdued sound was not at all the right choice to end the concert with, in my opinion. A lot of people stayed, but a lot also streamed out after hearing the hits "The Ghost Inside" and "The High Road." I do like what James Mercer and Danger Mouse have done in this collaboration; I question whether or not Broken Bells works as a live act enough to continue the project. I just keep wanting more from them, somehow. But that said, I was happy to see them again. I like the songs no matter what.

MissEight: They were awesome and mellow.

(At this point in the night, security no longer gave a shit about my silly camera, so I was able to pull off a couple of videos, "Vaporize" and the new BB song, "Meyrin Fields.")

On the way home, the whole "never sleeps, ever" theory was disproved for the second time in the night, but no matter...we had a lovely night out.