Deck the Hall Ball 2009

Rather than last year's same-y array of indie-rock bands peopled by white dudes with lots of feelings, this year's Deck the Hall Ball looks much better (if just as whitewashed) than last year's diabetes-inducing pop overdose. Sure, it tasted good, but it's heartening to see that the folks at The End have at least attempted to add some substance and attain a little balance by enlisting synth-pop heavyweights Metric and Afro-pop usurpers Vampire Weekend. And while critics take pleasure in shitting upon English headliner Muse for coming off like a cheap Radiohead knockoff, anything beyond a perfunctory listen makes it clear that this band offers its own distinct, decidedly un-Yorkeian sound. The Ball's been sold out for weeks, and the Craigslist ads pleading for spare tickets just keep getting more desperate. (Pictured: Metric's Emily Haines.) SARA BRICKNER

Tue., Dec. 15, 4:30 p.m., 2009

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