Posted by: stevealbers | December 15, 2008

KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas – Night II – Review

I somehow was lucky enough to get through Ticketmaster on Thursday evening to purchase tickets to KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas – Night II. It sold out within minutes, but not without first letting me in on a pair.

Mariam and I drove up to Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal Studios last night for a full evening of live music. The show started at 6pm and was due to get over around 11:30pm or so.  The bands were set up on a rotating stage, so as one band performed the next was getting set up on the back half of the stage. This created a seamless stream of music throughout the night. The first few bands only had a half-hour slot, so it was pretty much all music and no talk.

Below is the event line-up along with a quick review for each band. I could have sworn it said “No cameras or phones that have built-in cameras” because we left them in the car… but then find everyone in the place was packing. Oh well… hopefully there will be photos/videos posted in the near future by others that attended.

6pm – Vampire Weekend

This album has been in my heavy rotation section for most of 2008. Playing for a half-hour with little to no banter means that they were able to cover quite a few of their songs from their self-titled debut album. Their songs were tight and didn’t stray too much from the recorded version. They really aren’t arena-rockers… and I’d love to be able to check them out again, but this time in a smaller venue.

6:30pm – Snow Patrol

I’m not sure why Snow Patrol got such an early slot, but they definitely maximized their 30 minutes. They played a couple of songs off their new disc as well as several older songs (including the obligatory “Chasing Cars”). I think Gary Lightbody, the lead singer, banters with the crowd pretty well… but was limited due to time. While not the hardest rocking band on the docket, they still have a great presence and can get you moving. Having seen some of their live performances at outdoor festivals in Europe, I would definitely like to see a full show with them headlining.

7:00pm – Scott Weiland

Another question mark for me… he played the first night with STP, and was also on the the program as a solo gig for night two? Needless to say I would have preferred the STP performance. For the most part, he sounded like an off-Strip lounge singer in Vegas. Weiland warbled through a few songs and had difficulty completing sentences as he spoke to the crowd. This act was like playing a slow song at a junior high dance too early in the evening… everyone left and decided it was the best time to hit the can or grab another beer.

7:30pm – Franz Ferdinand

I was looking forward to seeing Franz Ferdinand. I think they’re a little underrated and got semi-lost in the shuffle a couple of years ago when their self-titled disc came out. Of course while everyone has heard “Take Me Out” and maybe one other of their songs… they actually have a decent stack of music. Their bass-heavy music is very contagious and was the first band to really get people excited (and it was well needed following Weiland). I’ll go on record and say that “Take Me Out” was probably the best song of the entire evening. There are a couple of versions online, but were taken with camera/phones so it is a little distorted (mainly due to the bass).

Check it out (and make sure to watch until at least the 2 min. mark!):

Special Guest Performer = Kanye West!

Paramore is the next band on the list, but we were told there would be a special guest joining the party that night. As the stage spun around, there were several large drums, men in black jumpsuits and helmets standing behind them… and in the front was Kanye himself.

It took everyone a couple of seconds to realize it… but when they did, the place went bananas (b-a-n-a-n-a-s!).  Between the bass and people jumping up and down, the balcony had some pretty good sway going. He played for about 15-20 minutes (I think) and included Love Lockdown, Heartless and Homecoming. Overall thought = very very cool.

Dave Harrison/ MTV News

Photo: MTV

8:00pm – Paramore (times are little off moving forward due to the special guest performance)

Meh… not my thing.  Next.

8:35pm – Death Cab for Cutie

I was intrigued with Death Cab on the program list. It seemed like they would be a good candidate, if any, for more of the acoustic-side of things. They played a full-electric set, including the long version of “I Will Possess Your Heart” which had Ben Gibbard almost doing a dance with his foot-pedal work and dashing around the stage between his guitar and the piano/keyboard. I’m not sure how long they played, but it seemed short (especially compared to the never-ending Paramore set).

9:15pm – The Killers

By far, the band I most wanted to see in the line-up. While preferring the first two albums vs. their latest, I was hoping for a good mix of songs. The Killers definitely delivered. From “Human” to “When You Were Young” to “Mr. Brightside”, the latter two being my favorites… their entire set was (I won’t go for the easy “killer” joke here) outstanding! Hit after hit had the entire amphitheatre electrified. Worth the cost, worth the wait, worth the drive!

A decent version of Mr. Brightside:

10:15pm – The Cure

While not growing up as a big fan of The Cure, I’ve come to like quite a few of their songs and was happy they were on the ticket. Robert Smith’s voice still sounds like it did when they first recorded a lot of their hits. They played a couple songs of their latest disc, as well as quite a few of their well-known hits. A great capper on a night of mostly great music.

If I can find some decent videos and photos from last night, I’ll update this post… otherwise feel free to link them, or comment below!

Update! – Added “Mr. Brightside” video clip.



  1. I didn’t even know that you went to this, sounds great even to me (the boringest music lover of all) and definitely right up your alley! Fun times!

  2. Hi, I read your blogs regularly. Your story-telling style is witty, keep it up!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: