I’ve got more than the usual amount of music kicking around in my head, ready to fall out and into a post. Deck The Hall Ball was good last night, not great but good. I think that I’ve been to four Deck shows over the years and this one was probably about the second best that I’ve seen. There were no atrocious acts which can not be said about last year’s show which was lowlighted by an embarrassing set by 30 Seconds to Mars.

I was most excited to see The Black Keys and they did not disappoint. Dan Auerbach is a phenom of a blues rock guitar player, a top notch whistler, and delivers vocally as well. Patrick Carney holds up more than his end of the bargain pounding the skins. I asked my group before the show who their favorite two man band is? The answers that I got were: Simon and Garfunkel, The Helio Sequence, Brooks and Dunn, Rodrigo y Garbriela, Tegan and Sara, and mine was The Kills. The Black Keys might have stole a couple of those votes if I would have re-polled after the show.

I went in with Sleigh Bells second on my list of bands that I was eager to see. They’re kind of interesting but I came away a little underwhelmed. Temper Trap played an abbreviated set which may have had something to do with the band not being happy with the the sound guys. Lead man Dougy Mandagi made almost as many hand signals as Peyton Manning does pre-snap as he was constantly trying to get the guys running the boards to adjust levels. Cake was Cake. They’ve got that niche that I talked about a couple days ago and it works in a big room. My friend Jeremy said “they look exactly like they looked 10 years ago when I saw them. I think that they’ve been sitting around in a cave for that entire time doing some interesting drugs.” My guess was that formaldehyde might have been the drug of choice. I was prepared to be bored senseless by Jimmy Eat World but I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed the set. Broken Bells closed the show, and I have to admit that I’m not a fan. Actually, I can cue up Broken Bells on my Zune and enjoy them but they do nothing for me playing live in a large exhibition hall. Which brings me to my last point in this capsulized review of the show. The WAMU Theater is a terrible venue. I’ve been to a few other shows there, and will go again if there’s some like The Black Keys who I really want to hear but really that is a ridiculous place to watch bands and listen to music. For a medium size venue it has a total lack of intimacy. The way that they set it up is puzzling as well. They could pull the adult beverage area on each side of the room more towards the center of the space and create a more cohesive feel for fans and performers alike. It’s just a big multi-use space that is best suited for boat and car shows.

So, who do I want to see at Deck The Hall Ball next year? Edward Sharge and The Magnetic Zeroes, Dead Weather, The Head and the Heart, The Heavy, Interpol, The National, The Ting Tings, The xx, and Houses. If at least a couple of these bands show up, I can pretty much guarantee that I will plunk my money down. Hopefully, I will have seen Houses at least by this time next year.

– DAVE