Deck the Hall Ball 2011 Recap

King Mark Foster would like to welcome you into this extravagant holiday concert post. [For some REAL photos from the event, check out Dave Lichterman's work here.]

Lineup:

  • Grouplove
  • Two Door Cinema Club
  • Young the Giant
  • Foster the People
  • Cage the Elephant
  • Death Cab For Cutie
  • Mumford & Sons

Year after year, I have always dismissed radio station sponsored concerts, but this year, I made an exception. As soon as I saw the lineup for the first four bands (without the headliners being announced,) I was all in. Two Door and Foster are bands that I have been wanting to see for a very long time and Young the Giant and Grouplove are bands that are quickly on the rise. The concert started promptly at 4PM and didn’t end until what I imagine was probably 11PM. I left two songs into Mumford & Sons, but before you bite my head off about that – allow me to explain later on. Kevin and I had pretty decent seats, which I was grateful for cause I get claustrophobic in general admission. Overall, it was definitely an experience for me and one that I will never forget.

[The view from our seats]

From the event, I learned a few things. The first – in regards to bands – is that the set list is crucial. Young the Giant kicked off their set with my favorite song, “Apartment,” but probably could have got the crowd going more with “My Body,” or a song similar to that since most bands wouldn’t start with their hit single. If you don’t start off with a strong song, you can introduce yourselves with a unique intro. Grouplove entered the stage to a Kanye song and right away, everyone was like, “Who is this band?” These days, I’m a really strange concert attendee because of my Blackberry note taking. I mean – it’s meant for posts like these! At shows, I find it hard to enjoy it completely because aside from singing along to songs and dancing to them, I’m constantly fixated on the band – how they perform, the mechanics of it all, their movement, their interaction with the crowd.

If I could ask the organizers of the event one question, it would probably be about how they select the order of  the lineup. Foster the People is more known than Cage the Elephant and Two Door is more popular than Young the Giant, but somehow that didn’t pan out the way I imagined. Grouplove is a band that I am currently in love with and though their 20 minute set was short, it makes sense in the scheme of the 7-hr event. Two Door was a band that I may have hyped up in my head too much beforehand. I’ve been listening to them longer than any other band except for Death Cab on the lineup and I expected the crowd to feel the same way that I did about them, but unfortunately, it did not seem like they were well-received – and Kevin and I judged this based on how we saw the GA crowd closest to the stage react to the sets. Young the Giant just makes my heart swoon. The lead singer is a little dreamboat and their songs are just wonderful.

[Mark Foster climbs onto the speakers]

Foster the People deserves their own paragraph. They totally take home the award for best performance of the night. I’d heard a lot of great things about their shows from Veronica who  got to see them back in October – a show that Kevin and I were supposed to get tickets to, but didn’t, and from what I’ve seen on their live stream at Lollapalooza this past summer. I realize that doesn’t do them any justice, but it was the next best thing. Mark Foster is a character. His awkward mannerisms completely make the show and everyone around me enjoyed their set. I take back everything I’ve ever said about Foster the People selling out because you know what? They probably need to sell out. Everyone deserves to witness a performance from them.

“If I jump into the crowd and surf and get knocked unconscious, just pass my body around until the end of the show…even through the other sets.” – Matthew Shultz [Cage the Elephant]

I only know a couple of Cage the Elephant’s songs, but their set was still really fun and entertaining. Schultz must have jumped into the crowd three times and each time (like it was the first time he’d done it) everyone around me gasped. The best moment was when he actually stood straight up being held only by his fans before spiraling down into them for a standard crowd surf. Since Death Cab was the last band to be announced in the lineup for Deck the Hall Ball, I expected them to headline – but instead that spot was filled by Mumford. Though Death Cab has some minor technical difficulties, they are still a band that I will never get tired of seeing. They played at least one hit song from every album and even though everyone was anticipating Mumford, I was still very much present in their set. Approaching Mumford’s set at 10PM, Kevin and I started to get a little tired and hungry. The show was seven hours, after all. Everyone was really excited for Mumford though so we agreed to stay for three songs, but ultimately decided that it was time to go. The instruments, the vocals, the lighting, the show – all incredible don’t get me wrong, but that type of folk rock isn’t for us. I can understand why people enjoy it though.

[Death Cab For Cutie]

and now…some random tidbits.

107.7 did well with their lineup this year touching on all of the necessary “rock” genres. In respective order from the lineup above:

  • Pop rock
  • International rock
  • Indie rock
  • Electronic rock
  • Punk rock
  • Local rock
  • Folk rock

Do you want to hear about the people that sat around us? For one, Kevin and I were in a section predominantly made up of adults. Adults that I feel were really only there for Mumford and didn’t care about any of the other bands as much whereas Kevin and I were the complete opposite. What does this mean for my satisfaction in the concert? Well, no one danced. I get it that it’s awesome to have seats and all, but it’s a concert. So yes, I was THAT girl – the ONLY girl to dance entirely to Foster the People’s set while everyone around me stood stiff as a board. No shame. I wish we had this on camera though

Events like these bring out the best characters:

  • The whistleblower. Y U gotta whistle and holler at every single part of the show?
  • The cool hipsters I wanted to be friends with
  • The cool couple from Spokane we actually became friends with
  • The guy who didn’t know how to appreciate Death Cab and pretended like he was falling asleep during their set. How dare you…
  • The awk couple with the girlfriend that couldn’t dance
  • The guy and the girlfriend that stood up during Cage and looked at everyone as if they needed to stand for some song. Shut up. Where were you when I stood up by myself for Two Door?
  • The people that got booted out of seats cause they tried to occupy ones that didn’t belong to them. Why can’t people just be honest about where they’re sitting? You didn’t pay for those seats, what makes you think you can take them? So no, I don’t feel bad for you when the security pushes you aside and tells you to go back to where you belong.

After working with booking for the past few years and even currently, I have started to have a change of heart about the industry. It was hard to imagine myself in an environment that was based solely off money and profit. Yes, I understand that most industries are like that, but especially for music, it’s more than just the money for artists. It’s disheartening sometimes to be involved with it, but then I go to a show like this and I’m reminded that everyone is getting this incredible experience out of it and that to me is what makes it worth it. I think sometimes it’s what keeps me working with it.

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