Deck the Hall Ball 2012: Strangely Suited, Stacked With Talent

Metric at Deck


Admittedly, it’s been a while since I’d stepped foot in a music venue as a photographer. Okay… so a month and a half isn’t all that long, but it seems like an eternity when it had consumed you for nearly three years. Fortunately, it was like stepping into that familiar pair of shoes that fits perfectly from years of wear. It felt good to be around all the other talented photo folks I’ve come to know and love. I just knew the night was gonna be good, and boy was I right.

While I wasn’t able to make it for the 30 minute (what?! That’s all??) Joy Formidable set that kicked off the festival at 3pm (what the!?), I did make it for Of Monsters and Men.  For the last year, this band has been blowing people away left and right across the United States and beyond. Yes, they have that folky sound that’s so popular, but it’s not a matter of playing to that type of audience. They’ve got a sense of power behind them; A subtle confidence that tells you they know what they’re doing and just want you to enjoy yourselves. We’ve been inundated by folk/Americana music (especially in Seattle) for the past two years, I’ll give you that. But this band has schlepped all the way from Iceland and, luckily, their fan-base here has skyrocketed, which keeps them coming back. (If they haven’t made it onto your radar yet then I’d say try them out, it can’t hurt.)

The rest of the lineup was a pretty incredible list of usual suspects. Grouplove was as rambunctious as ever. They brought their brand of California joy with them and this time it was complete with a parrot on the shoulder of singer Hannah Hooper. It got a little weird when she made the parrot “talk” but hey… why not, it’s quirky. The Lumineers took the stage soon after, and to be honest this group was the least like the others and it was a little surprising they were on the bill. Don’t get me wrong, they’re talented as hell and I have had a great time at each of the six shows I’ve seen this year. It was just a weird mood change from Grouplove to Lumineers to… Passion Pit.

Speaking of Passion Pit, they were a newer revelation for me this year. I’d, of course, heard their music on the radio and didn’t dismiss it but also didn’t take special note for later listening. I caught their show at MusicFest Northwest and while the lead singer had a strange tendency to pace as he sang (which was, honestly, a little annoying), I got into the show along with the adoring fans in the first twenty rows, watching the crowd as their heads moved back and forth as they followed the tennis match movements that defined his performance.

Metric and M83 rounded out the night with seriously enigmatic and athletic performances. Metric’s leading lady, Emily Haines, refused to sit still whether it was skipping (the sexiest skipping I’ve ever seen at that) across the stage or wailing on her synth machine-keyboard combo. It was almost impossible to take your eyes off her. M83 weren’t lookin’ too shabby either with a light display that would rival any New Year’s celebration and the added benefit of fan fever to keep you sucked into the madness until the last note was played.







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