KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas

Joseph Wilson

The second night of KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas featured some of the biggest names in rock today with the Foo Fighters headlining the two-day event. The lineup also included She Wants Revenge, Snow Patrol, Gnarls Barkley, Panic! At the Disco, Evanescence, the Raconteurs, Beck and the Killers. What is great about these festival-type shows is that the bands play their best songs right away. This is instant gratification at its best in terms of rock shows. By far, the best performance was that of the Killers, who burned their way through instant classics like “When We Were Young,” “Sam’s Town” and “Somebody Told Me.” Lead singer Brandon Flowers, standing on his piano, got the crowd singing “All These Things That I’ve Done.”

The Foo Fighters were the loudest band at the show with the Raconteurs coming in a close second with a searing version “Bang, Bang My Baby Shot Me Down” that could have been played at a Led Zeppelin concert. The Foo Fighters played the most acoustic songs of the night. Acoustic version songs were “Everlong” and their single “Skin and Bones” off their new album. Grohl said that night two had that “extra special sauce” that separated it from night one.

Beck’s stage show was the most eccentric of the night with puppeteers manipulating little band puppets to “Devil’s Haircut.” Band members were banging on cans and drumsticks as one performer, dressed in a white shirt and black tie, started break dancing and shadow boxing as the band grooved into “Two Turntables And A Microphone.”

The earlier bands, Gnarls Barkley, Panic! At the Disco and Angels and Airwaves played with energy but could not get the crowd nearly as worked up as the later bands. Part of the problem was everyone in the audience wanted to see a couple of the bands, but not all of them. This worked to the benefit of the headliners, but the smaller bands had to deal with an audience still buying food and alcohol.

Panic! At the Disco’s stage show had performers running around the stage looking like rejects from a bad Broadway musical with a small budget.

This is the sixteenth year KROQ has held the Almost Acoustic Christmas at the Gibson Amphitheater, and it is one those cool venues where every seat in the house is great and the sound quality is superb. The second night of the event was to benefit Para Los Ninos, a non-profit family services organization that seeks to help children from impoverished neighborhoods through after school programs, work assistance, mental health services and other programs.