From Giants to Dragons: Deck The Hall Ball 2014
by Shaina Carter
The only unfortunate thing about Deck The Hall Ball 2014 was the fact that I had to work and couldn’t be there from the first band to the last.
However, when I did get there it was for the beginning of TV on the Radio. While I’m familiar with them, I will admit that I was by no means well versed on who this band was and what their music was about. As soon as I took my seat and that first chord hit my ears– I was a believer. TV on the Radio not only demands your attention with their powerful music and intelligent and aware lyrics, but with a stage presence that cannot be ignored. When I was walking to the Key Arena, part of my game plan was to grab a beer (naturally), but no. Not with TV on the Radio looking me dead in my eyes and saying, “You sit there and listen to what we have to say.” First world problems, right?
After an intermission in which The End played new music by the Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age, Young the Giant almost timidly took the stage. While they began, I thought to myself that it was a pretty interesting switch up from the vibe that we had been lead into. Far less aggressive than the band that had performed before them, what Young the Giant did was take us on an emotional ride. Their lead singer, Sameer Gadhia, would interrupt the lyrics the audience was belting back to him to give the raw howl of a man who had lived those words. Frequently the screens would show the faces of people in the crowd who were right there with him.
Before I had moved to Seattle, I had a list of bands that I was dying (figuratively, don’t be too worried) to see. On that list: Cage the Elephant. Before they took the stage, I was rubbing my hands on my knees blabbering to my new friend I had met sitting next to me about how good this was going to be. I was so fanatical about this that it made him excited about the upcoming band. Maybe I’m biased– but they did not disappoint. Matt Shultz spent about half of the set singing while being passed around by the hands of the people nearest the stage. His brother Brad played a few songs doing the same. When they finally played, “Come a Little Closer”– because, come on, they had to– I got up out of my seat and sang with an animated enthusiasm that I usually save for the stage also known as my shower. At the end both I and the band were drenched in sweat.
Next up was this small time band you may have heard called Weezer. No big deal. Only, yeah, a HUGE deal. It’s WEEZER. As in the band I overplayed since I was in elementary school. While me and my group of friends (or the people who happened to have seats around where I was sitting) made our guesses on what they were going to play, they threw us all for a loop and opened with “Hash Pipe”, in which we all belted in unison as if we were Rivers Cuomo’s personal backup singers. Their set list had a pretty even blend of newer songs that the younger people in our clique seemed to know better than we did and those quintessential Weezer classics that let us older folks show off our chops. But there was one song that everyone in the crowd knew as if they had penned it themselves… “Say it Ain’t So”. And even their encore song, “Buddy Holly” seemed to be exactly what everyone wanted to hear. And just when you didn’t think that Weezer could do anymore, they had a four person drum solo. Yes. All four of them took to Patrick Wilson’s drum kit and barreled over us. No, it’s cool Weezer. Just kill it, that’s fine because that’s exactly what we wanted.
Now it was time for the closing band, Imagine Dragons. I’m going to be honest with you… I had never heard of them before. I know, I know. Apparently I’m the only person in America that didn’t know who this insanely popular group was. Wanting to continue the high of what I’ve already experienced, I asked about them. The answers I received varied between, “The one song I do know by them I like” to one girl telling me that they were going to change my life… Yes, this one band is going to alter all thirty years of my existence. Skeptical? Maybe. Open minded? Of course. And while I could understand the appeal of Imagine Dragons, with their catchy hooks, phenomenal stage set up and really cute lead singer… I was unsure why they, and not Weezer, was the closing act for Deck the Hall Ball. I guess it’s like Bob Dylan sang, “The times they are a changin’”.
By the way, I never ended up leaving my seat to get a beer.