The Student News Site of Ballard High School



Follow Us on Instagram

Deck the Hall Ball lights up Key Arena

107.7 The End’s annual concert features performances from all over the world

Kathryn O’Brien, Features Editor
Originally published December 18, 2013


Three bands from England. One from Scotland. One from France. One from New Zealand. One from New York and one from Seattle. People flooded into Key Arena to await all of these worldly acts at KNDD 107.7 The End’s highly-anticipated 21st annual Deck The Hall Ball concert on Dec. 3

The huge Seattle event has featured world-famous acts such as The Killers, Mumford & Sons, and Death Cab For Cutie and many other great performers. This year, the Scottish band Chvrches (“Churches”) and the British Foals kicked off likely the most international Deck The Hall Ball in history.

Lorde, the up-and-coming teen star from New Zealand whose song “Royals” climbed to the top of Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart in August, took the third slot. Dancing like a “possessed doll,” as characterized by sophomore Mary Luken Raz, Holy Names attendee, Lorde grasped the attention of audience in an all-black getup, her mane of hair flying all over the place. She appeared vulnerable on the stage with only one drummer and a techy on stage with her, but with her soulfully mystical voice, Lorde was definitely “queen bee” of the concert.

After Lorde’s relaxed set, the Arctic Monkeys stole the stage from their three opening acts and woke up the audience with a captivating performance of “Do I Wanna Know?,” a recent single. Frontman Alex Turner’s greaser persona and British accent immediately mesmerized his fans in the audience. In the middle of their performance, Turner pulled a comb out of his pocket and combed his hair like Danny Zuko, and then threw the comb into the audience.

Unfortunately, the quality of the performance was slightly undercut by the poor sound in Key Arena. With many different instruments playing at a loud volume, the sometimes scratchy sound quality made it difficult to make out some of the words to the songs. When Turner stopped playing lead guitar to focus on vocals during “Arabella” mid-set, the sound quality certainly improved.

The Arctic Monkeys have previously headlined alongside Deck the Hall Ball’s last two headliners, The Killers and Mumford & Sons, at the UK’s Glastonbury international music and performing arts festival. Their current album AM has peaked at number 6 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album list, and number one on their alternative chart. Their impressive awards background (four nominations and two wins of Best British Group award at the BRIT Awards) and entertaining stage presence, the Arctic Monkeys deserved a later slot in the show, possibly even the final act.

“Oh, Seattle. We didn’t get to spend that much time together tonight,” Turner said to screaming fans. “Maybe next time we can get to know each other a little bit better. . . [but I guess] we have time for one more question, Seattle: ‘R U MINE?’” The Arctic Monkeys closed out the show with an energizing performance of this song, leaving many audience members wanting more when they finished their set after only 50 minutes.

The British alternative rock quartet Alt-J had a spectacular performance. Featuring their more-popular songs “Breezeblocks” (which has reached a peak of number nine on Billboard’s Chart of Top Alternative Songs) and “Tessellate” as well as some of their one-minute interludes, the band’s ability to translate their truly original, unusual recorded sound from An Awesome Wave to the stage was impressive.

Local Seattle band The Head and the Heart were very well received. Their performance was reminiscent of last year’s performance by Of Monsters and Men; they too had interesting concert instruments such as a violin and a piano and a mix of men and women. Their smiles were contagious and their folky sound made them the lovable act of the night. However, as their music was slower than the bands’ surrounding them, it would have improved the flow of the concert had they played earlier and for a shorter amount of time.

Phoenix, from Versailles, France, had the most enjoyable performance of the night, and could have easily been the headliners as well. Faced with a technical difficulty at the very beginning of the set, lead singer Thomas Mars improvised by jumping into the crowd (where he spent much of the performance) and singing a slow, mellow version of “Countdown” from the album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Later, their enthusiastic performances of songs like “1901” and “Lasso” made the audience jump up and down and sing along.

Following that lively performance, Vampire Weekend took the stage. The adorable lead singer Ezra Koenig, wearing pajamas, no-doubt won the hearts of his fans. However, many of those less interested by their slightly repetitive style of music began to leave before the end of the set. This sometimes happens at a concert of this size (people want to miss the stampede after the show is over by leaving early), but by contrast, last year’s headliners, The Killers, had extreme energy and familiarity that left the audience dying for more after their several-minute encore.

Had it ended on a more exciting, make-you-want-to-dance performance such as Phoenix or the Arctic Monkeys rather than Vampire Weekend, the concert would have been a 10. The final song “Walcott” pumped up the crowd but didn’t bring down the house. But taken individually, each band had a exceptional performance.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Talisman

Your donation will support the student journalists of Ballard High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Talisman

Comments (0)

All Talisman Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Deck the Hall Ball lights up Key Arena