Friday, December 10, 2004

Deck the Hall Ball

It's Indie Rock 'n Roll For Me
Key Arena, Seattle, WA

This mammoth event is sponsored by local "alternative" station 107.7 The End. The lineup tonight is surprisingly good: Snow Patrol, Keane, The Shins, The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, and Modest Mouse. We promptly miss Snow Patrol's set. I'm sure they were brilliant.

There is a good crowd on the floor of the Key, a crowd as white and scrubbed and shiny as I have not seen in, oh, three days. This is the Boring Indie Rock Audience times one hundred, and it creates kind of a pretty sea of immobility when observed from above.

Keane, KEANE of all bands, provides us with the driving, heartbeat-replacing kick drum that we desperately needed the other night at Fatboy Slim. It is unexpected and welcomed. Some girls near me freak out for the lead singer, particularly when he sings all these nice swoony songs. But to me he looks like he has a grown-up body and the face of a 15-year old boy. When I don't look at him it's way better.

This is a great date event, and you've got pairs everywhere. One couple right next to me displays an impressive act of marital familiarity: during one set, the gal turns to her husband and silently mouths information to him WHILE CHEWING GUM. Her husband understands EXACTLY what she says, nodding and laughing.

My favorite teenagers are the music-loving pre-cynicism ones. In the bathroom I overhear a pack of girls discussing a new girl at school. One says "I can really see her as part of our group." We're all filled with the love tonight. Later, the girls end up beside me for Franz Ferdinand's set. They unabashedly LOVE the band, which makes me in turn love them. They are too short to see the stage and they don't care. The girls sing along at full volume, jump up and down as soon as they recognize what is being played (usually at note three), and beam at each other. It makes me think, wait, IS Franz Ferdinand the greatest band ever? I like the fans who make you reconsider your position on bands.

In all this is a good show, though it must be hard for a band to establish any kind of relationship with a crowd when they are so still. The Killers look the best in their outfits, The Shins need to practice before shows, and Modest Mouse, current local heroes, incite not quite a mosh pit but more like a lean pit during their set. It's a fitting end to a night of safe, friendly indie rock 'n roll.

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