High School Halfcourt Game-Winning Buzzer Beater

It’s not quite college basketball’s March Madness, but high school hoops provide plenty of excitement in February. State championships hang in the balance throughout district, regional and state tournaments all over the country. Sometimes an entire season comes down to the final seconds of a game. In this instance, Kentwood (Wash.) High School star Jackson Huerta kept his team’s dreams alive with an amazing overtime halfcourt game-winning buzzer beater against Emerald Ridge High School.

Like the beginning of the video explains, Kentwood trailed Emerald Ridge 51-50 with 2.5 seconds left in a loser-out South Puget Sound League tournament game. Jeremy Harris calmly pushed the Emerald Ridge advantage to 52-50 after he made his free throw, but Kentwood wasn’t done. They gave the ball to Jackson Huerta, who quickly sprinted up the left side of the court. With two guys on him, Huerta fired off a halfcourt prayer before the buzzer. After a lucky bounce off the backboard, the front of the rim and the backboard again, the ball fell into the hoop for an unbelievable game-winning buzzer beater.

After his game-winner, Huerta told the Tacoma News Tribune that he felt good about his halfcourt shot the moment it left his hand:

“I am comfortable from the left (side),” Huerta said. “I spin it a little bit.”

That spin (or whatever it was Huerta did to make the game-winning buzzer beater) means Kentwood earned the final seed to the district tournament, while the miraculous shot ended the season for Emerald Ridge. It was a heartbreaking demise for the Jaguars and a thrilling victory for the Conquerors, and it shows just how much 2.5 seconds can actually mean in the game of basketball. I guess that’s why they call it madness.

What do you think of the halfcourt game-winning buzzer beater by Jackson Huerta? I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below, or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. You can also check out more from the world of sports, music and food right now on http://allaroundtim.com!

Jackson Huerta Game-Winning Buzzer Beater

Jackson Huerta just moments before he launched his game-winning buzzer beater.

Hockey Coach Mocks ‘Blind’ Referee

It’s not unusual to see baseball managers lose their cool on the diamond. It actually happens all the time. We’ve seen coaches cover home plate in dirt, throw bases and even toss a rosin bag like a grenade (or all three combined in one single epic meltdown). It’s not often you see a hockey coach takes to the ice though, especially with a pair of sunglasses and a stick to mock a ”blind” referee.

The ”blind” referee incident happened during a North American Hockey League game between the Wenatchee Wild and Kenai River Brown Bears. Wenatchee associate head coach Chris Clark apparently wasn’t happy about the officiating, and maybe he had good reason to be upset. There were 109 penalty minutes handed out in the game, and 70 of those went to the Wild. After a fight in the third period gave Kenai River a seven-minute power play, Clark finally lost his cool. He put on a pair of shades, grabbed a stick, walked onto the ice and mocked the “blind” referee:

We’ve seen hockey coaches get upset in the past, but you NEVER see anything like this. They usually just stomp around and throw sticks or a bench on the ice. I’m sure in an effort to look as clumsy as possible, Clark looked more like Charlie Chaplin in a silent movie anything else. Unfortunately for Clark, not everyone finds the “blind” referee protest funny, instead they think it’s in bad taste. The Wenatchee fan who emailed me this clip said, “While I would not normally condone this type of protest, in my personal opinion, it was quite befitting the entire night’s officiating.” So, maybe it’s one of those had-to-be-there moments. I don’t think everyone will be as understanding though.

While the Wenatchee players and fans clearly enjoyed the show, the referee did not. He quickly ejected Clark from the game (to no one’s surprise). Clark only missed the last 6:29 of the contest, but I’m sure he’ll be out much longer than that moving forward. It’s junior hockey (where it seems like fighting happens as often as goal scoring), but I can only imagine Clark will receive a hefty suspension and fine from the NAHL. On the other hand, Clark is giving the league some serious attention because of his “blind” referee antics, so maybe they’ll take it easy on him. Any publicity is good publicity, right? I’ll update this story when I find out more about Clark’s suspension.

What do you think of the coach mocking the “blind” referee? Do you think it’s funny or offensive? I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on the world of sports, food and music!

Hockey Coach Mocks Blind Referee

Wenatchee Wild associate coach mocks ‘blind’ referee

 

Goalie Fight: Dustin Tokarski vs Eddie Pasquale

I know there are a lot of people who don’t care for hockey fights, but I love them. I played hockey growing up, so I understand their importance to the game. There are different types of hockey fights: the typical one-on-one bout, a line brawl and then there’s a goalie fight. It’s the most unusual (because of all the pads they wear) and rare hockey fight you’ll find. That’s why this goalie fight between Dustin Tokarski and Eddie Pasquale is such a gem.

The goalie fight between Dustin Tokarski and Eddie Pasquale happened in last night’s American Hockey League game between the Syracuse Crunch and St. John’s IceCaps. A line brawl broke out in the second period, which eventually resulted in 70 penalty minutes. Tokarski was dinged for leaving the crease, fighting and a game-misconduct, while Pasquale took penalties for leaving the crease, fighting and two game misconducts. The two goalies accounted for 44 of the brawl’s 70 penalty minutes.

The goalie fight clearly worked in Syracuse’s favor. The Crunch trailed the game 3-2 at the time, but rallied for four unanswered goals and a 6-3 win after the brawl. I think Dustin Tokarski was the clear winner in the fight, and that helped jump-start Syracuse. That’s one of the huge perks of a hockey fight — it fires up your teammates. That means Tokarski had as much an impact on that victory as anyone else, even though he was sitting in the locker room at the time of the comeback.

There’s a good chance you’ll see Dustin Tokarski and Eddie Pasquale in the National Hockey League at some point. Tokarski has actually played in the NHL already. He tended the net in seven games for the Tampa Bay Lightning over the last two seasons. He was a fifth round draft pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. I actually covered Tokarski when he played for the Western Hockey League’s Spokane Chiefs (he’s a good kid and I really hope he does well in the future). As for Pasqualle, he was a fourth round pick by the Atlanta Thrashers (who are now the Winnipeg Jets) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. He spent the last two seasons in the AHL after a successful run with the Belleville Bulls and Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League.

While Dustin Tokarski and Eddie Pasquale are stuck in the minors for now, this goalie fight at least gives them some name recognition among hockey fans. Video of their goalie fight has spread all over the internet, so while they might not be NHL stars yet, they’re fight has gone viral. That’s something to brag about, isn’t it?

Have you ever seen a goalie fight in person? Who do you think won this bout — Dustin Tokarski or Eddie Pasquale? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on sports, music and food!

Goalie Fight | Tokarski vs Pasquale

Dustin Tokarski vs Eddie Pasquale

The Lumineers | Don’t Wanna Go

I thank Pandora over and over again for introducing me to songs and bands that I’ve never heard before. I recently created a station for The Lumineers, and I can’t stop listening to it now. Pandora even showcases some of The Lumineers songs I’ve never heard before. One of the jams that really grabbed my attention was ’Don’t Wanna Go’.

There are probably a lot of Lumineers fans who don’t know ’Don’t Wanna Go.’ I hadn’t heard it until it randomly came across Pandora. ‘Don’t Wanna Go’ is from The Lumineers demo EP which was released on December 15, 2009. The group sounds much different on their demo than they do now. It’s probably even hard for some people to realize it’s The Lumineers actually singing ‘Don’t Wanna Go’ (I had to double-check as well). It really shows how much they’ve grown and developed as a band since then. Take a listen:

It doesn’t sound much like The Lumineers, does it? I still think it’s a solid song though. Believe it or not, The Lumineers still appreciate how ‘Don’t Wanna Go’ and the six other songs (including ‘Flowers In Your Hair’, ‘Classy Girls’ and ‘Submarines’, which also appear (jazzed up a bit) on The Lumineers debut album) turned out on their 2009 EP:

Don't Wanna Go | The Lumineers

The Lumineers demo EP cover art

“Our EP was a demo quality and we liked the way it sounded,” drummer Jeremiah Fraites told PhillyBurbs.com last July. “It took us four or five years to find our humility and find our vulnerability and we stand behind that, having that vulnerable sound and letting it all hang out. We thought, if someone can play any of these songs on just a guitar or just a piano, then it’s probably a good song. Then we loved dressing them up with drums, cello, violin…but we really liked that raw quality.”

The ‘Don’t Wanna Go’ lyrics are a little darker than you’re probably used to hearing from The Lumineers (“There’s some blood around her, etc.), but that was more common for the band a few years ago. Fraites’ brother Josh died of a drug overdose when he was 19 (a tragedy that actually sparked Jeremiah Fraites and Wesley Schultz to start making music together), so Fraites says he understand the depths of grief and misery. He admits The Lumineers used to write “depressing songs that were about darker stuff.” ‘Don’t Wanna Go’ seems to fit that “darker stuff” category. They felt if they were “serious,” people would listen to them. The Lumineers obviously changed their tune since then, and folks are listening to them more than ever.

I’m a fan of The Lumineers, but I don’t consider myself a crazed fanatic. I couldn’t tell you where the band is playing right now, their favorite foods, or anything wild like that. I do know that I love their music and I continue to be blown away by them. Whether it’s ‘Don’t Wanna Go’, ‘I Ain’t Nobody’s Problem‘, a new song I saw them perform in concert, or anything else that randomly pops up – the hits keep coming from The Lumineers. I can’t wait to hear what come up next!

Have you listened to The Lumineers ‘Don’t Wanna Go’? What do you think of it? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out more from the world of music on http://allaroundtim.com!

New Music Discovery | The Apache Relay

I was listening to Pandora the other day when a song reached out and grabbed my attention. I was shaving at the time, so with my hands sopping wet, I risked the life of my iPad to see what it was. The song was called ‘Lost Kid’ by The Apache Relay. It’s the first time I’d ever seen or heard the name The Apache Relay. ’Lost Kid’ made enough of an impact on me that I decided to investigate the band more tonight.

I downloaded The Apache Relay’s American Nomad album a few hours ago and I already can’t get enough of it. The album isn’t new to most fans (it was released on April 12, 2011), but it’s new to me. ’Lost Kid‘ appears to be the most popular song on the album, and it’s probably my favorite as well. I started the album from the top and listened to the whole thing (I’m listening to it again as I write this). Right when ‘Lost Kid’ came on, I couldn’t help but start snapping. Take a listen for yourself!

I like most of the songs on the album. ‘Can’t Wake Up‘, ‘Sets Me Free‘, ’Home Is Not Places‘, ‘Mission Bells‘ and ’American Nomad‘ also really stick out. I started singing along with these guys and I had never even heard their jams before. That’s how catchy the album was for me. There are a couple of songs on the album that didn’t really grab me right out of the gates, including ‘When I Come Home‘ and ‘State Trooper‘ (although I’ve come around on State Trooper after listening to it a couple of times).

The Apache Relay

The Apache Relay

I think The Apache Relay already has an awesome sound, but some argue they’re even better live.

“They’ve got kind of an Arcade Fire meets boys raised on gospel and Bruce Springsteen approach to what they do, and they’re called The Apache Relay,” said the Huffington Post. ”They’re a fantastic live band.”

One of the commentors on the American Nomad page on iTunes backed that up by saying, “I really like this album, but to see these guys live is much better than the album.”

It sounds like The Apache Relay tour the country like crazy (they reportedly performed more than 100 dates in 2011 alone), so finding a show shouldn’t be too difficult. The only problem is — it doesn’t look like they travel out west very often. I’m still going to keep my eyes peeled for a show in Seattle, because I definitely want to see and hear more from The Apache Relay.

Have you ever listened to The Apache Relay? What is your favorite song? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on music, sports and travel!

The Apache Relay Live

The Apache Relay

 

Team Long Brothers | Conner And Cayden Long

I’m usually bored out of my mind when I’m scrolling through my Facebook news feed, but today I spotted a video that peaked my interest. I decided to click on it, and I’m really glad that I did. It’s the story of Conner and Cayden Long – the Sports Illustrated “SportsKids of the Year”. Conner is a healthy 9-year-old boy, but 7-year-old Cayden was born with cerebral palsy, which leaves him unable to walk. Instead of leaving his brother Cayden on the sidelines in his wheelchair, Conner competes with his brother in triathlons. They’re known as “Team Long Brothers”.

This is an inspirational story about love and brotherhood. It’s well worth the five minutes of your time (trust me):

The brothers are aiming for the moon! How can you not love that?!

Team Long Brothers | Conner and Cayden Long

Team Long Brothers

The video above only shows part of the story though. ”Team Long Brothers” are even more incredible than you can imagine. Conner pulls his brother on a trailer when he bikes, he pushes him in a cart when he runs, and he pulls him in a tube when he swims. Keep in mind — these are competitions that span for miles.

It’s not always glamorous for “Team Long Brothers”. Conner and Cayden wanted to compete in an IronKids competition, but with 1,400 kids competing, organizers were concerned there wouldn’t be room for Cayden’s trailer, cart and tube. Conner could have competed without Cayden, but he didn’t want to. Conner and Cayden are a team, so Conner wasn’t going leave Cayden out. The organizers eventually decided to let the brothers compete, and they finished in last place. But, like they said in the video, “Though they would finish last, they finished together — as one.”

After I watched the first video of “Team Long Brothers” on Facebook, I wanted to know more. That’s how I came across this video by ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi. It goes even deeper into the story of Conner and Cayden Long. I just can’t get enough of this story, so I think this clip (even though it’s ten minutes long) is worth your time as well. I have to admit that both stories brought tears to my eyes (I’m a softy).

Conner and Cayden Long

Sports Illustrated “SportsKids of the Year”

“Team Long Brothers” even has a Facebook page now. On there, you can see that Conner and Cayden were invited to a Tennessee Titans game to raise the “12th Titans” flag, and you can also find pictures of the family in New York City to accept the award for Sports Illustrated “SportsKids of the Year” (including a photo of Conner with an autographed basketball from Lebron James). The “Team Long Brothers” Facebook page has a little over 8,000 likes, but their following continues to grow by the second.

There are plenty of sports stories that come and go (I know — I put many of them together), but there are some that really sink in. They grab a hold of you and they never let go. The story of Conner and Cayden – ”Team Long Brothers” – is one I won’t forget for a really long time.

What do you think of “Team Long Brothers”? Would you do the same thing for your siblings? I would love to hear your comments! You can leave your thoughts in the section below, or you can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on sports, food and travel!

65-Foot Buzzer Beater Wins High School Game

There are buzzer beaters, and then there are buzzer beaters. This is one of the most impressive game-winners I’ve seen in a long time. Brian Tyson of Olympic (Wash.) High School landed a 65-foot bomb to lift his team to a one-point victory on Wednesday night.

It’s a shot you have to see to believe. With his team trailing Kingston High School 56-54 with 2.7 seconds left in the game, Tyson took the inbounds pass from his teammate, dribbled twice, and heaved a three-quarter court shot to beat the buzzer and the Buccaneers, 57-56. Check this out!

Tyson’s game-winning buzzer beater left the Kingston players and fans stunned. They were left with nothing to do except stare in amazement as Tyson was mobbed by his teammates on the floor. It’s the ultimate example of “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”.

I captured an impressive three-quarter court buzzer beater last season, but it didn’t win the game. I was shooting a high school basketball game in Spokane when University High School star Brett Bailey (he’s heading to the University of San Diego next year) splashed home a long bomb at the end of the first quarter. Click here to see the video.

Let me know what you think of this 65-foot buzzer beater! Feel free to link any other impressive buzzer beaters in the comment section below. You can also connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to all check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on sports, music and travel!

VIDEO | 65-foot buzzer beater

Brian Tyson right before he launched his game-winner

 

Brian Okam Shoots The Worst Free Throw Ever

I’m not the most athletic guy on the planet, but there’s one thing I’ve never had a problem with on the basketball court: shooting free throws. It’s the easiest part of the game. I don’t understand how professional or college players can’t shoot from the line. That’s just bad basketball – but there’s also really bad. That’s where Brian Okam comes in. He shot what is being considered the worst free throw ever.

The “worst free throw ever” happened in last night’s game between Appalachian State and Western Carolina. With his team ahead 48-40 in the second half, Okam, a backup center for the Mountaineers, went to the free throw line for two shots. He made the first free throw, but his second shot didn’t go as well. The drum roll, please…

Yikes! I can see why people say that’s the worst free throw ever. It was so bad the color commentator was only left with “I’m not sure what that was. Good Lord.” I love that Okam rubbed his hands on his shorts to make it seem like the ball slipped out of his grasp. It reminded me of a baseball player looking at his glove after an error. I guess he needed to do something to save face.

Brian Okam | Worst Free Throw Ever

Brian Okam during his fateful free throw

That embarrassing free throw possibly had more implications than most people know. Western Carolina immediately went on a 13-4 run after that, and eventually beat Appalachian State 70-64. Okam, a transfer from Rutgers, finished the game 0-2 from the field and 1-4 from the free throw line. He’s shot %54 from the line in his career.

Okam’s terrible free throw comes on the heels of Los Angeles Lakers star Dwight Howard losing a free throw and three-point contest against the Los Angeles Kings mascot (yes, he lost to a mascot). That leaves me with just one word for these guys: FUNDAMENTALS — learn them!

Is Okam’s shot the worst free throw ever? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a message below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Please feel free to share any video links if you’ve seen an uglier free throw. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on sports, music and travel!

The Lumineers Perform Untitled New Song

It should come as no surprise, but it sounds like The Lumineers are working on some new tunes. How can I tell? They performed a new song at Deck The Hall Ball in Seattle this week, and I was there to see it live. The Lumineers say the song is so new that they don’t even have a name for it yet (although I’m guessing they’ll call it ’Falling’ in the future).

The new song is a duet between Wesley Schultz and Neyla Pekarek (with the two often repeating “falling” in the lyrics), and they’re joined by Jeremiah Fraites on the keyboard at the end of the song. I just so happened to be recording on The Lumineers’ set when they performed their new song at Deck The Hall Ball. Take a look/listen!

NOTE: The Lumineers need to utilize Neyla Pekarek’s voice more often — she’s obviously a fan favorite.

The new song already has several fans. My sister, who was at Deck The Hall Ball with me, immediately asked if I recorded the new song (I should probably just call it ‘Falling’, so I don’t keep writing “new song” over and over again). Once I told her that I did, she insisted that I send her the video right away. I also posted a link to my video on Twitter, and a friend of mine responded by saying that “The @thelumineers new song is already a favorite of mine. So very sweet.”

The Lumineers | New Song | Falling

The Luminers at Deck The Hall Ball

The Lumineers seemed to enjoy their time at Deck The Hall Ball. On top of ‘Falling’, they performed ‘I Ain’t Nobody’s Problem‘, ‘Classy Girls’, ‘The Big Parade’, ‘Ho Hey‘ and several others. ‘Ho Hey’ actually received one of the largest cheers of the night at KeyArena (nine bands played at Deck The Hall Ball, so that’s really saying something). The crowd erupted after The Lumineers played the first note of their hit song. The band also led a fun sing-along to ‘Stubborn Love’, which included the audience singing the chorus (“So keep your head up, keep your love”) at different volumes. At one point, The Lumineers even asked everyone to put their cell phones away to “just be in the moment” with them. I thought that was pretty cool, so I put my phone directly into my pocket.

The Lumineers truly seemed to be in awe by the Deck The Hall Ball crowd. It wasn’t just your ordinary artists-sucking-up-to-the-audience either. It seemed very genuine. They admitted that KeyArena (16,641 capacity for concerts) is the largest venue they’ve ever played. The Lumineers also reminisced about some of the smaller joints they headlined in Seattle leading up to their appearance at Deck The Hall Ball. They even credited Seattle for jump-starting what turned into a huge year for them (some say the band’s leap to stardom began at the 2011 Capitol Hill Block Party). A big year got even bigger for The Lumineers the day after Deck The Hall Ball when they were nominated for a Grammy. The group is one of three bands up for Best New Artist.

It’s still to be seen if The Lumineers new song (‘Falling’ — or ‘Fallin” as one of my YouTube friends suggested) is going to end up on a new album, or if The Lumineers will just perform it in concert like ‘I Ain’t Nobody’s Problem’. My friend Tove says it sounds like a song they came up with in their tour van (or whatever they cruise around in). No matter where the new song ends up, The Lumineers are coming up with new material and that’s a huge bonus for all of us.

What do you think of The Lumineers new song? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on music, sports and travel!

Deck The Hall Ball 2012 | Nine Bands, One Great Show

It’s not often you find The Killers, M83, Metric, Awolnation, Passion Pit, The Lumineers, Grouplove, Of Monsters and Men, and The Joy Formidable all on the same stage in one night, but it happened at Deck The Hall Ball 2012 in Seattle. I was one of the few people who was actually there from beginning to end, and it was worth every second of my time.

The Joy Formidable jump started Deck The Hall Ball 2012. KeyArena was pretty empty at the time, but that didn’t prevent them from straight rocking out. There are only three members of The Joy Formidable, but it sounds like there are more people on stage when they’re jamming. They play hard, especially lead singer Ritzy Bryan. She’s a little fireball, springing all over the stage like the Energizer Bunny. They only had time to play four songs, so The Joy Formidable left their mark by smashing their instruments at the end of their set (guitars were thrown and drums went crashing to the stage). One of the personalities from 107.7 The End (the station that puts on Deck The Hall Ball) came out afterwards and called it “the most ferocious start to Deck The Hall Ball ever.”

Deck The Hall Ball 2012 | Of Monsters and Men

Of Monsters and Men

Next on stage at Deck The Hall Ball 2012: Of Monsters and Men. This was one of the groups I was most interested in seeing. I bought their album months ago (before their songs were even on the radio), but I wasn’t sure how they’d sound live. I was really impressed by Of Monsters and Men. They have a very mellow tone on their album, but they weren’t afraid to jam out on stage. Of Monsters and Men kept the crowd involved as well. They split the audience for a sing along on ‘Mountain Sound‘ (half of KeyArena sang “Hold your horses now,” while the other sang “We sleep until the sun goes down,” etc.), and everyone in the crowd sang every word to ’Little Talks‘ without urging from the band. I really wish Of Monsters and Men had more time on stage at Deck The Hall Ball, but that’s the way these events go. I’ll just have to hunt them down again.

Deck The Hall Ball 2012 rolled from Of Monsters and Men right into Grouplove. They started their set with ‘Itchin’ On A Photograph‘, which got everyone amped up for them. The crowd gave Grouplove their largest ovation after ‘Tongue Tied‘ though. Grouplove also played the only cover at Deck The Hall Ball by rocking their own version of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’. Aside from Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi (the most recognizable members of Grouplove), drummer Ryan Rabin stole the show. He rocked out the entire set and then did some crowd surfing before he left the stage.

There was no group I was more excited to see at Deck The Hall Ball 2012 than The Lumineers. It was honestly a little hard to come down to their level at first, because everyone else had rocked so hard before them. The Lumineers were easily the most mellow band of the night. I definitely don’t mean that as an insult, because they put on a great show (and they were just as rad as I hoped they’d be). Leading up to their set, no song got a bigger burst from the crowd than ‘Ho Hey‘. The place erupted after The Lumineers played the first note. The Lumineers loved to engage the audience as well. They had a lot of fun with ‘Ho Hey’, but the best follow-the-leader was ‘Stubborn Love‘. The Lumineers even performed a new song (it’s so new that it doesn’t even have a name yet) at Deck The Hall Ball. I just happened to be recording when they played it, so take a listen:

Passion Pit took the stage at Deck The Hall Ball 2012 after The Lumineers. This was actually the second time I saw Passion Pit this year. I also watched them perform live at Bumbershoot in Seattle over the summer. I was pumped to see them again this time around, but I wound up a little disappointed. It’s not their fault though. Passion Pit had the KeyArena crowd moving the entire time. The biggest problem is that I was in the upper deck, so I wasn’t anywhere near the active audience (unlike Bumbershoot when I was in the middle of the fray). After Deck The Hall Ball came to an end, I remember raving about so many bands, but Passion Pit never came into the conversation. Don’t get me wrong, Passion Pit put on a great show but they just didn’t do anything extremely memorable. I’d still go see them again the next time they roll through town.

Deck The Hall Ball 2012 | Awolnation

Awolnation

Awolnation was one of the great unknowns for me at Deck The Hall Ball 2012. If you’ve listened to their album, you know they have a lot of range, and they really showed that off during their set as well. They were actually a little hard to grasp at first. One second Awolnation was headbanging, and then the next they were playing the more poppy ‘Kill Your Heroes‘. I think there were a lot of people who didn’t know what to think of them early on, but Awolnation won the crowd over with ‘All I Need‘. It’s a slower song, so frontman Aaron Bruno had everyone put their arms around the folks next to them as they played. Everyone swayed together to the music, and then Bruno encouraged the crowd to wave a lighter or cell phone (to make it “really cheesy” in his words). I think it was the most entertaining moment of the night. Bruno wasn’t done after that. He led the audience in the wave, and then crowd surfed while singing his final song. I think Awolnation put on arguably the best show of the night. I’d definitely pay to see them perform again.

Awolnation was a tough act to follow, and unfortunately it was up to Metric to keep the crowd going. They failed miserably though. I didn’t know anything about Metric (aside from the one song (‘Breathing Underwater‘) they played on the radio leading up to Deck The Hall Ball), and I don’t care to know more about them now. I can’t be the only one who feels that way. The audience seemed disinterested during their set. There was no movement in the crowd, no one was taking pictures or video of them (like they were for all the other groups), and several people actually walked out during their performance. It was relatively dead inside KeyArena for Metric. They just never captured the crowd. They were easily the biggest flop of the night.

Let’s talk about a group that did capture the audience — M83. These guys are unlike anyone else who played Deck The Hall Ball 2012. M83 is more electronic and instrumental than anything. They’re more about flashing lights and jamming out than signing many lyrics. Several people in the crowd even whipped out their glow sticks for their set. I have to admit that M83 doesn’t exactly tickle my earlobes, but they were very entertaining. They jammed and jammed and jammed for a full 50 minutes. I took this video of M83 performing ‘Midnight City‘, so you could get a feel for what their set was like:

Deck The Hall Ball 2012 | The Killers

The Killers

The Killers were the headliners for Deck The Hall Ball 2012. There’s a good reason they were the last to perform. The Killers put on an incredible show. They just seemed so much more seasoned at performing live than the rest of the acts at the event. They had a more dynamic setup than anyone else, including a 30+ foot video board hanging behind them and confetti that came shooting out during one of their songs. The stage just seemed bigger for them, and lead singer Brandon Flowers kills it (no pun intended). The Killers were the only group to get everyone in the crowd on their feet for their entire set. They were also the only band that had every person singing every word to every song. I honestly didn’t realize The Killers had so many hits until Deck The Hall Ball. They just kept coming one after another. It was an awesome atmosphere and a perfect way to wrap up the night.

The Joy Formidable took the stage at 3pm and The Killers walked off the stage at 11:30pm, so it was nearly nine hours of music at Deck The Hall Ball 2012. I was introduced to new bands, rocked out to some of my favorite songs and even waved my cell phone (in place of a lighter) at a concert for the first time in my life. It was easily worth every penny I paid for my tickets. I’m already bracing myself for Deck The Hall Ball 2013.

Were you in the crowd for Deck The Hall Ball 2012? Who was your favorite/least favorite band? I’d love to hear how the night went for you! Please leave a message below or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on music, sports and travel!