December 12, 2011 | 9:45am
KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas Night Two
December 11, 2011
After barely surviving Night One of KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas
, my endurance was tested with another stellar line-up for Night Two. The Gibson Amphitheater seemed to be busier around the early start time of 5:30 as the audience was well aware that the line-up was solid from start to finish.
Grouplove seemingly have come out of nowhere. Appearing in a commercial for the iPod Touch with their song "Tongue Tied," their profile has significantly risen as lots of fans were singing along. It was easily the most impressive set from an opening band at a KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas show.
Mumford & Sons
Utilizing dark synthesizers and hailing from New Zealand, The Naked and Famous dished up an interesting mix of sound with shades of electronica and industrial. Alison Xayalith was alluring, interweaving her vocals with Thom Powers. "Young Blood" was their stand out track.
It seems like only yesterday Foster The People were doing a residency at the Detroit Bar. Now they are alumni of appearing on Saturday Night Live and have been touring nonstop. Of course, everyone went nuts during the ubiquitous "Pumped Up Kicks" as Mark Foster hopped down to the adoring throng of fans on the rail. I also recognized "Don't Stop (Color On The Walls)" from their Nissan commercial.
Perennial KROQ festival alumnus Cage The Elephant played a raucous set that involved frequent stage dives by lead singer Matthew Shultz. The audience lapped it up while enjoying such tunes as "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked," "2024" and "Shake Me Down." Their stint opening for the Foo Fighters has helped hone their live performance skills.
Death Cab for Cutie
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds appeased the anglophile fans in the crowd as Gallagher worked through such songs as "Everybody's On The Run," "The Death of You and Me" and "AKA ... What A Life?" from his debut album. In the Oasis category, "Don't Look Back in Anger" and a spine tingling version of "Wonderwall" showed why it's good to be on Team Noel. My apologies to Liam.
Sounding and looking like an angel, Florence Welch used her booming voice to win over the audience. Touring in support of her new album Ceremonials, Welch fluttered across the stage with sparkling renditions of "Only If For A Night" and "What The Water Gave Me." "Dog Days Are Over" garnered the biggest reaction with most of the audience singing along.
Having grown a full beard since playing the Fox Theater in Pomona
, Ben Gibbard led Death Cab For Cutie through "Doors Unlocked and Open" and "You're A Tourist" from their highly overlooked new album Codes and Keys.
They did make their way to the hits by playing "Soul Meets Body" and "I Will Possess Your Heart". A live DVD is needed to show how their songs hit another gear when performed live.
Although based in England, Marcus Mumford was born in Anaheim. it was nice to see a local boy do well for himself with a juicy slot on the KROQ bill. Mumford was extremely excited to play for Los Angeles as he broke three strings on his acoustic guitar while performing what has to be recorded. The crowd ate up their set as they doled out "The Cave," "Roll Away Your Stone" and "Little Lion Man."
The Black Keys
The Black Keys are bigger than I can imagine. They have always put on rock solid live performances, but with their appearance on Saturday Night Live and an arena tour that consists of two nights at Madison Square Garden have bumped them up more than a few notches. Sticking to their latest album El Camino and Brothers, Dan Auerbach coaxed out the dancing demons from everyone with his Guild guitar emitting "Gold On The Ceiling" "Tighten Up" and "Lonely Boy." They are arena ready.
Closing out the evening in grand fashion was the one and only Jane's Addiction. Perry Farrell was in top form fueled by the spirits (of wine). The thunderous bass riff of "Mountain Song" showed Jane's was taking no prisoners as Dave Navarro shredded on his black Paul Reed Smith guitar. "Irresistible Force" from their solid new album The Great Escape blended in perfectly with older tunes like "Been Caught Stealing" and "Ain't No Right." It was the perfect way to close an amazing night.
Personal Bias: The line up was ridiculously good.
Random Notebook Dump: Marcus Mumford's guitar had a tag saying "Mary Kate." Does that mean his other guitar is "Ashley"?
Crowd: Much more attractive compared to the first night.