By Andy Rathbun Herald Writer
It began in 1992, when alt-rock radio station The End (KNDD-FM) held a holiday concert at the Seattle Art Museum with then up-and-comers Evan Dando and Sarah McLachlan.
Now, two decades later, the Deck the Hall Ball has become an institution, drawing some of the biggest names and most buzzed about acts in rock.
This year’s installment continues the Christmastime tradition, as the Killers provide broad appeal to a bill that also features M83, Awolnation, Passion Pit, the Lumineers, Grouplove, Of Monsters and Men and the Joy Formidable.
The concert takes place at KeyArena, with the hefty line-up of bands beginning to take the stage at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
The Killers are by far the biggest name on the bill, the only act that can claim several platinum-selling records. The Las Vegas band has scored its biggest hits with tracks like “Mr. Brightside” and “All These Things That I’ve Done,” both off its 2004 debut, “Hot Fuss.”
The group’s theatrical take on rock also earned it a loyal following — its latest album, “Battle Born,” bowed this fall at No. 3 on the Billboard 200.
That stadium-tested act aside, the rest of the bill is filled with bands more accustomed to playing clubs and theaters. Several of the groups should take to the bigger stage, though.
Bands worth seeing include Passion Pit, which scored a hit this year with the thumping electronica of “Take a Walk”; the Lumineers, which released a nearly perfect album of alt-rock earlier this year; and M83, which might fit well in the arena setting, given the spectacular sweep of its double album, “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming.”
Elsewhere, the Blue Scholars will take the stage at the Showbox at the Market for a show at 8 p.m. Friday.
The Seattle-based underground rap duo has won acclaim for blending its beats with jazz, world music and socially conscious rhymes that tackle issues such as racism and immigration.
The group has long been considered a powerful live act. Its latest tour finds it playing a string of dates along the West Coast, before heading east for shows in Chicago and New York City.
Opening acts include Don’t Talk to the Cops and Brothers from Another.
Tickets are $20 at showboxonline.com or 888-929-7849.
Another local act will headline the Moore Theater at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Jherek Bischoff has been dubbed a “Seattle phenom” by the New Yorker, which lauds the multi-instrumentalist’s innovative composing.
The experimental indie rocker will be playing music from his debut, the aptly titled “Composed,” which, on one track, featured the grandfather of experimental alt-rock, David Byrne — the former frontman for the Talking Heads.
Tickets are $17.50 at stgpresents.org or 877-784-4849.