If Santa wants to up his teen cred, here's hoping he was somewhere in the Deck the Hall Ball mosh pit Thursday night, earplugs in. Thursday night's six-hour, six-band...
If Santa wants to up his teen cred, here’s hoping he was somewhere in the Deck the Hall Ball mosh pit Thursday night, earplugs in. Thursday night’s six-hour, six-band rock show traversed a variety of styles but remained consistent in volume: loud.
Representing every genre with a power chord — from progressive metal to gothy synth to poppy post-punk — the testosterone-fueled bands championed sponsoring radio station 107.7 The End’s penchant for the harder side of alternative rock.
Musically, headliners Modest Mouse put on the most interesting set, integrating banjo, stand-up bass, accordion and trumpet. The addition of new guitarist Johnny Marr (formerly of the Smiths) has given the Issaquah-based indie superstars power to share. They turned jangly early career hits like “Paper Thin Walls” into muscular foot stompers. Their set veered into long art-rock jams as singer/screamer Isaac Brock plummeted into the crowd and played his guitar with his teeth.
There were no crazy antics for poppy post-punk outfit Jimmy Eat World. Though they’re not pushing any new musical boundaries with songs from their latest release, “Chase This Light,” they have consistently catchy hooks, high energy and the comfortable polish that comes from many years on the road.
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Both Coheed and Cambria and She Wants Revenge proudly saluted their musical influences, conjuring decades gone. Coheed and Cambria worked through a dynamite run of prog-metal and rock epics, complete with big hair and bigger guitar solos (but refreshingly little pretense).
She Wants Revenge channeled Joy Division with their dark, beat-heavy synth. Singer Justin Warfield even copped an English accent. In addition to impeccable imitation, they also have flawless precision: She Wants Revenge had the tightest sound of the night.
Though Spoon has been making big waves in the indie scene for some time now, they got an early slot in the lineup. For the 107.7 crowd, who seemed to favor accessibility and familiarity, that was probably a smart move. The Austin quartet has been pushing the boundaries of piano-based indie pop into darker territories, evidenced by their sixth studio release, “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.”
But deconstructing their older hook-laden gems live came off messy and unnecessarily harsh. It worked on songs like Gimme Fiction’s “The Beast and Dragon, Adored,” where they fully embraced a new aesthetic, but the reverb overkill on Britt Daniel’s mike during most other songs made his anxious yelps grating.
British newcomers the Kooks started things off with the charming, if a bit sloppy, youthful exuberance of their debut album “Inside In/Inside Out.”
Joanna Horowitz: firstname.lastname@example.org