KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas - Night Two - 12/9/07
One look at the bill for Night Two of KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas one might think with all of the INDIE flavor that that LA's "other" rock station was behind the programming. But alas it was KROQ and Night Two featured great performances by Modest Mouse, Muse, Feist, Silversun Pickups, Jimmy Eat World, Spoon and a surprise unannounced performance from the Killers.
Easily the more attractive of the two nights, Night Two was almost shocking in its quality. It was a stacked bill and one that would prove to be throughly entertaining as some of the most talented singers and songwriters took to the stage. It was a great mixer of the year in "Indie" as many of these groups and artists either finally got the chance to shine, continued too prove their talent to the major market or broke though.
Spoon were up first, yes one of the strongest groups out today opened the bill, to a nearly empty theatre with a breeze of a performance. Short and sweet, the set featured mainly tracks of GaGaGaGaGa. It was a shame to see a band this good get such a short set right off the bat, but nonetheless their inclusion was welcomed and praised, although I have only heard a Spoon song on KROQ when promoting this event.
It has been an incredible year for Leslie Feist. From the rising status of her album the Reminder to, what in today's musical landscape is the fast track to success, having her track "1234" featured in an iPod commercial, Feist has come along way from her days as one of the 13 plus members of Broken Social Scene. With good reason, her voice is strong and sweet and her on stage talent is captivating.
Local darlings Silversun Pickups, who are continuing to prove that they are truly the next big thing, tore the stage apart next. Their on stage presence is great for a band that has really only burst onto the scene in the past few months.
Modest Mouse and the Shins both turned in great band performances. Their cohesiveness and structure as groups was what really stood out as they played through their somewhat shortened sets to make way for the nights "surprise" performance.
They were followed by emo-rock outfit Jimmy Eat World, who minus the Killers, were easily the most commercial of the groups on the lineup. They fit in very nicely however and proved to be the perfect opener for Muse as they got the crowd jumping and singing along with their catchy hook filled tunes. They are a solid band who's sound has not really evolved much since they gained popularity, not that this is a bad thing as they do what they do exceptionally well.
The highlight of the night was the unannounced surprise performance by the Killers. Other than the Shins set being cut by 20 minutes, there was no indication that Brandon Flowers and Co. would be performing but when the stage turned and they began to play "Shadowplay" the Joy Division cover off Sawdust and the Control soundtrack, the crowd was in for a treat. The breezed through a 4-song set which included their annual Christmas track "Don't Shoot Me Santa" and a red suit clad Zach Galafankis.
Closing the night was the British rock powerhouse Muse. Over the past three years, Muse has shot out of obscurity and become the premier arena rock band. Their sound is dramatic yet refined. Lead man Matt Bellamy has a Freddy Mercury aura to him, with his falsetto and on stage theatrics, he commands the attention of the crowd. Anyone who has seen Muse live can testify to their volume and power. Tonight's set was no different as they blazed through a mix of old and new, with hits "Starlight", "Knights of Cydonia" and "Hysteria" becoming sing-a-longs. Bellamy's talent oozes off the stage as he sings, completely shreds his guitar and stops along the way to show his prowess on the piano. The three piece group is easily the loudest and most entertaining live act today and they show no signs of slowing.
Overall I must commend KROQ with their choices for Night Two, but where the format was a blessing for Night One, the short sets hindered many of these groups from truly connecting with their audience. A 20 Minute set from The Shins is painfully too short, however the flip side of the trade off is the chance to hear all of these amazing bands in one evening of music. I do hope that with the inclusion of these bands that KROQ will keep their ear to the indie side of rock and continue to try and break new groups rather then playing the same RHCP and Linkin Park songs over and over.
All Photos by Joey Maloney/LAist.com