KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas Night Two at the Gibson Amphitheater Last Night

Phoenix headlined
Phoenix headlined
Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly

KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas Night Two

December 12, 2010
Gibson Amphitheater

Night number two of KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas involved more of an alternative fare compared to the hard rock vibe of night one. Phoenix went from being an earlier opener last year to headliner this year riding the strength of their Grammy winning album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. From the opening strains of "Lisztomania," Phoenix had the whole crowd dancing in the aisles.

Thomas Mars swung around his red microphone cord occasionally jumping down to the pit area to interact with the fans. Phoenix used their deft combination of synthesizers, razor sharp guitars and propulsive drumming by Thomas Hedlund to win over the crowd with songs like "Lasso," "Girlfriend" and "Rome." Bringing down the house with "1901," Phoenix easily proved they were worthy of the headlining spot of the evening.

Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend
Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly

Vampire Weekend also made a repeat visit to the KROQ show backed by their successful sophomore album Contra. Ironically opening with "Holiday," it was difficult not to think of the ubiquitous Volkswagen commercial. Ezra Koenig easily picked at his Epiphone hollowbody guitar while dialing up some autotune vocals for "California English." Chris Baio bounced along to his rollicking bass lines during "A-Punk" and "Oxford Comma."

While I can't offer any photographic proof that Brandon Flowers performed, Flowers worked through a set mixing up selections from his solo album and a few Killers tunes. "Crossfire" is his most accessible tune and soars with its sing along chorus and swirling synthesizers. Flowers turned back the clock for a faithful cover of "Betty Davis Eyes." Flowers connected with the crowd during a slowed down acoustic rendition of "When You Were Young" and a synthesizer-heavy remix of "Mr. Brightside."

Black Keys
Black Keys
Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly

The Black Keys were definitely one of the highlights of the night serving up a warm blanket of guitar fuzz and pummeling drums. Dan Auerbach stomped across the stage summoning up his demons in the form of bluesy guitar licks. Auerbach used his falsetto for the sugary sweet "Everlasting Light" and the down and dirty "Tighten Up." The Black Keys will also be doing a live performance on KCRW on Monday morning.

Descending like an angel but possessing the vocals of a siren, Florence and The Machine put together a dazzling set using her operatic vocals for "Heavy In Your Arms." The Temper Trap stole The Edge's guitar delay pedal for the echo filled guitars of "Sweet Disposition." Broken Bells sounded fantastic as they worked through "The High Road" and "Vaporize." Its a shame they were slotted so low on the bill. Edwarde Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros brought their hippie commune good vibes in the form of "Home" to kick off the night. 

Personal Bias: I have seen Phoenix seven times touring behind Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.

Crowd: Joe Jonas and Drew Barrymore were apparently in the house.

Overheard in The Crowd: Vicious rumors that Daft Punk would come out to play with Phoenix. So cruel!

Random Notebook Dump: Neon Trees was purposely omitted from this review.

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