KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas Night Two
Gwen Stefani's appearance at the first night of KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas made for a memorable evening. The rumors had circulated early in the evening that those in attendance would be treated to a surprise set from No Doubt. The line-up for this evening was already stacked and a No Doubt appearance on top of it would probably bring down the house. It was no wonder that the Gibson Amphitheatre was almost full at the start time of 5 p.m.
*KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas Night One 2012 - Gibson Amphitheatre - Review
*KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas Night One 2011 - Gibson Amphitheatre - Review
*KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas Night Two 2011 - Gibson Amphitheatre - Review
Hailing from Las Vegas, Imagine Dragons whipped through a set that literally left lead singer Dan Reynolds exasperated. The crowd responded well to their Killers on steroids sound. "It's Time" garnered the greatest response and you can catch them again at the House of Blues Anaheim on March 20.
British singer Alex Clare was up next mixing soul and dubstep for a croon-filled set. You probably recall his ever present song "Too Close" from the Microsoft commercial. I wonder if he made more money than Grouplove and their commercial with Apple?
Of Monsters and Men were unfortunately given a sack of coal for their set. Some static interference marred the last three songs as you could hear crosstalk from walkie talkies blaring through the monitors. Gentle songs such as "Lakehouse," "Little Talks" and "Six Weeks" were pretty much ruined but the crowd enthusiastically cheered them for their perseverance. Hopefully they will another chance at the KROQ Weenie Roast next year.
Having recently opened a pair of nights for No Doubt, Grouplove were in top form and have nicely climbed the billing of Acoustic Christmas compared to their slot from last year. "Spun," "Itchin' On A Photograph" and the iPod commercial song "Tongue Tied" had the crowd dancing in the aisles.
Did you know Passion Pit is going to headline the Madison Square Garden? Yes, they are that big. Michael Angelakos and his falsetto and plenty of sugary synthesizers helped propel such songs as "Take A Walk," "Sleepyhead" and "Little Secrets." It seemed like their set went by in minutes.
Neon Trees were another repeat customer of Acoustic Christmas. Lead singer Tyler Glenn is quite the polarizing frontman as you either love him or hate him. It appeared to be a bathroom break for some as they tackled "Animal" and "Everybody Talks." I must admit that Elaine Bradley was a rockstar behind the drums.
M83 have had a tremendous year with highly touted slots at Coachella and FYF Festival as they closed out their tour behind their double album opus Hurry Up, We're Dreaming. Morgan Kibby's breathy vocals on "We Own The Sky" sounded out of this world. "Steve McQueen" and "Midnight City" brought their way too short set to end.
No band has had a bigger year than Fun. They have seemingly come out from nowhere to a high slot on the bill. Having sold out three nights at the Wiltern back in August, Fun's crowd definitely skewed to the younger fans in the audience and they sang along at top volume to every song. "We Are Young" was the song I recognized.
The Gibson Amphitheatre exploded upon hearing the opening snippets of "Push And Shove" from No Doubt. Playing to a semi-surprised crowd, No Doubt gave it their all as they ran through a greatest hits set that included "Spiderwebs", "Underneath It All", "Sunday Morning" and "Just A Girl". I'm sure the ticket prices would have doubled if everyone knew No Doubt would have made a guest appearance.
Scrawls of feedback soon started to echo as the stage spun to reveal the blistering guitar work of the one and only Jack White. White's recent solo album Blunderbluss has earned a Grammy nomination and stacks up to any of his work with the White Stripes. White did a quick retrospective of all his bands by including songs from The Raconteurs, Dead Weather and the elephant stomp groove of "Seven Nation Army" from the White Stripes. White was on fire and could have played all night.
Walking through the audience with the house lights on, The Killers made quite the entrance. Touring in support of their new album Battle Born, The Killers commanded the crowd with hit after hit. "Mr. Brightside", "Human" and "Somebody Told Me" were just some of the synthesizer fueled anthems that closed out the evening in a grand fashion.
Critical Bias: You can't just review one night of KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas.
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Crowd: Much better dressed than the previous night. I attribute it to Jack White playing.
Overheard In The Crowd: "I knew No Doubt would be the surprise guest!".
Random Notebook Dump: Josh Freese and some of the other Vandals were spotted milling about during the show. Go see them at the House of Blues Anaheim for their Christmas Formal show on December 21.