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The Killers, DCFC set to jingle at The End holiday bash
by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

107.7 The End's "Deck the Hall Ball"
Tuesday, December 9 SOLD OUT
WaMu Theater


Gingerbread cookies, eggnog, crackling fire, gift-wrapped bottles of wine, money from grandpa, and rock 'n' roll - yes, these are a few of my favorite things in winter. The very last item on that wish list is usually fulfilled by The End, Seattle's alternative radio station which annually gathers thousands of partygoers under one roof to spread discomfort and joy with a dash of insanity. As a seasoned veteran of the station's "Deck the Hall Ball," having attended four of their last six holiday bashes, I can say from experience that I've been shoved, poked, stepped on, fondled (if I interpreted that correctly), hugged, and left without a ride in years past - but I was happily buzzed during each of them, so who cares?! In what has become a ritual for Seattle rockers, Tuesday night's fiesta will continue The End's tradition of wrapping a five-hour concert with marquee acts under the tree as a giant thank-you to its listeners for another 12 months of tuning in. Helping to deliver good tidings and cheers this time around are The Killers, Death Cab for Cutie, Cold War Kids, Shiny Toy Guns, and Aqueduct.

The Killers, led by undeniably pretty boy Brandon Flowers, are the headlining band despite local superstars DCFC on the bill. The Las Vegas foursome bullet-trained onto the music scene in 2004 with their Grammy-nominated debut Hot Fuss, followed by 2006's considerably successful Sam's Town. A bit of star power was lost on last year's Sawdust, a lunch tray of B-sides and lost tracks, not to mention a strip mall version of "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" that was neither met by fan approval or critical praise - it was odd, to say the least. The group's brand spanking new release Day & Age restores the energy and glammy kick that we fell in love with on Hot Fuss, primarily on the disco-glossed "Joy Ride" and the zippy "Spaceman." At the Ball, expect The Killers to look spiffy in two-piece suits as they jaunt through a set of crowd-pleasers like "Somebody Told Me," "Mr. Brightside," "When You Were Young," and their latest single, "Human." My fingers are crossed for "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" and "Uncle Johnny." I've seen The Killers twice, indoors and outdoors, and danced both times from beginning to end.

Death Cab for Cutie have been touring non-stop in 2008, playing in Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, throughout Europe, and repeatedly across the US. Tuesday night is the quartet's first hometown appearance since headlining this fall's Bumbershoot Festival, in which they drew an enormous crowd to Memorial Stadium and gave them one of their best-ever local performances. Initially signed to Seattle-based Barsuk Records, DCFC sprouted to mainstream attention when 2005's Plans was distributed by major label Atlantic and snagged a Grammy nomination in the all too competitive alternative music category. Earlier this year, they debuted atop the Billboard album charts with Narrow Stairs, knocking off power divas Madonna and Mariah Carey - a pleasant surprise for a band that has averted pop trends, consistently creating mid-tempo, melodramatic fare. Their set list will likely include "Long Division," "Cath," "Soul Meets Body," "I Will Possess Your Heart," and "The New Year." If we're lucky, and I've prayed six of the eight times I've seen them, we'll hear "Your Heart is An Empty Room" - but don't count on it, as it's rarely done live.

Of the three opening bands, I'm really only familiar with Shiny Toy Guns. Well, that's a lie. I did exit an Aqueduct performance after just 15 minutes, though I'm willing to give them another shot. Cold War Kids are getting raves for their newest effort, Loyalty to Loyalty, and are certain to entertain those who show up early to WaMu Theater. Oklahoma natives Shiny Toy Guns received a Grammy nomination last year for Best Electronic/Dance Album for We Are Pilots, despite being more of an edgy rock act. The unit's sophomore effort Season of Poison is a tad jumpier and explosive, and should spread their wings a wee more in the upcoming months.

Deck the Hall Ball is entirely sold-out, though you can probably find tickets online at eBay or Craigslist. I'm not sure if The Killers will tour Seattle again for this album, but I'm confident DCFC will slow down in 2009 and therefore it might be the last time to see them at home for a while. Doors open at 4:30 with the first performers going onstage at 6. The Killers are set to appear at 9:30.
picture: The Killers

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