Dan Siebold

KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas 2017: Night 2 @ The Forum – 12/10/2017

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Weezer @ KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas 2017Even though the closing night of the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas 2017 lost its headliner less than 24 hours earlier, Night 2 of the SOLD OUT show on Sunday December 10th with 9 bands scheduled to perform. In both an online social media posting and announced by morning DJs Kevin & Bean live on air early Saturday evening, English singer/songwriter Morrissey pulled out of the top spot for the final evening of the alternative radio giant’s year end extravaganza.

As a result, each band was given additional stage time as a result of Morrissey’s cancellation as suitable time was not on KROQ’s side to locate a replacement. Nonetheless, the lineup was still packed with the likes of Weezer, The Lumineers, Foster The People, Phoenix, Franz Ferdinand, X Ambassadors, Vance Joy and the ‘new’ headliners of the evening The Killers. To view coverage of KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas 2017 Night 1 click here.

Led by charismatic lead singer Max Harris, X Ambassadors (originally from upstate New York) easily could have benefited from a later set time. With a handful of strong commercial radio hits, the crowd reaction to the band and their monster hits “Unsteady” and “Renegades” helped kick start the evening after a slow start by the night’s opening act, Vance Joy. Harris was a ball of fire, covering every inch of the stage and catwalk with aggression and enthusiasm. He is joined in the band by his brother, Casey who tears it up on keyboards—all while being blind since birth. Opening with “Jungle”, the tone and nature of the tune was a perfect fit for their set opener, setting the bar high for the rest of the night.

X Ambassadors Photo Gallery

Hailing from Scotland, Franz Ferdinand is back with a new album and upcoming 2018 tour. They cranked through 9 songs in their allotted time, including new single “Always Ascending” and crowd favorites “Do You Want To” and “Take Me Out”. The latter two were huge hits off of their 2005 breakthrough release, You Could Have It So Much Better. A colorful neon-simulated backdrop provided a splash of color for lead singer Alex Kapranos and his 4 bandmates. They will return to SoCal in the spring, playing a headlining show at the Wiltern in Los Angeles on May 15th.

Franz Ferdinand Photo Gallery

At times you could possibly consider Walk The Moon a poor man’s Imagine Dragons, but the band has successfully carved out a little niche for themselves. Their strong use of synth and keyboards have always provided a strong 1980s nostalgic feel. With their customary face paint, lead singer Nicholas Petricca danced his way through a seven song collection, including “One Foot”–the first single off their latest LP What If Nothing, which was released just one month ago. Teenage girls definitely seem to like these boys from Cincinnati, Ohio…especially on their most commercial and catchy tunes to date, “Shut Up & Dance” and set closer “Anna Sun”. The band will make another trip through Southern California with stops in San Diego (House of Blues) and Los Angeles (Hollywood Palladium) in early February.

Walk The Moon Photo Gallery

Accustomed to top billings on multiple festival bills, the French band Phoenix filled a mid-lineup spot to perfection this evening.  With white light bathing the stage and LED panels of bright colorful light providing ambiance, the band opened with the loud “J-Boy”.  Bands always benefit at radio shows by focusing on their radio-friendly hits, Phoenix made certain to abide by these rules and snuck in the familiar “Lisztomania” early in the set. During the mega hit “1901”, lead singer Thomas Mars ventured midway into the pit and was awarded sips of beer from a few willing fans as they held him up. By the end of the song he had crowd surfed back to the stage to finish up the set with the rest of his band on “Ti Amor Di Piu”.

Phoenix Photo Gallery

Like many of the other bands, local boys Foster The People brought a new album worth of material to present. Lead singer Mark Foster was anxious to promote Sacred Hearts Club, which was released this past July. The former commercial jingle writer typically has a clean cut look…his new image has brought longer hair and sinister looking facial hair. They kicked off the night with “Don’t Stop” and later mixed in a cover of the Ramones classic “Blitzkrieg Bop”. Their breakthrough and commercial crossover hit “Pumped Up Kicks” got the hometown fans out of their seats briefly, while new tune “Loyal Like Sid & Nancy” closed out the set.

Foster The People Photo Gallery

Coming off a summer opening gig with U2 on their Joshua Tree stadium tour, Denver-based The Lumineers brought their folk rock to the Forum stage. Known for their infectious sound and for incorporating numerous musical instruments into their presentation, the Grammy nominated band strutted through a quick 9 song set that was highlighted by “Cleopatra” and “Ophelia”. With clear influences of Tom Petty found throughout their work, it was no surprise that they covered the recently departed musician on “Walls (Circus)”. One of the biggest sing-along songs of the night was “Hey Ho”, with frontman Wesley Schultz encouraging the sold out crowd to croon along.

The Lumineers Photo Gallery

In what has become an almost yearly appearance at the Almost Acoustic Christmas, Weezer provided a nearly hour long collection of classics. Although they could have played for twice as long, they packed 9 career spanning hits into their fun set. Opening with “Say It Ain’t So” and “Hash Pipe”, they certainly had the crowd on their side from the very start. With their affable lead singer and lead guitarist Rivers Cuomo leading the way, they mixed in two new songs “Happy Hour” and “Feels Like Summer” into the middle of the set before closing with “Buddy Holly” and “Island In The Sun”. The band will return to the Forum with The Pixies next summer, with a show scheduled on August 8th. To celebrate this announcement they played a Pixies song (“Where’s My Mind?”), which Cuomo cited as an early influence for him.

Weezer Photo Gallery

With the Morrissey’s cancellation, The Killers were awarded not only the top billing for the night but also granted an additional 20 minutes of stage time. In addition to playing one of their Christmas songs (“Christmas In LA”), the band hailing from ‘Fabulous Las Vegas’ graciously paid homage to Morrissey by playing “This Charming Man” and “Everyday Is Like Sunday”. They opened with “The Man”, a huge hit off of their new LP Wonderful, Wonderful which was just recently released in September.

Lead singer Brandon Flowers took time to reference the events from the previous night’s incident when Queens Of The Stone Age lead singer Josh Homme intentionally kicked a photographer. He stated that photographers are always welcome and it is a safe place at Killers shows…he even brought a photographer onstage to give him a hug—unfortunately this was the band’s own photographer and the only credentialed photographer allowed in the photo pit (note: the band has a strict no professional photographer policy at all shows, especially this night). What (to the audience) seemed like a cute little moment has rubbed many professional photographers the wrong way. The event even resulted in a Billboard Magazine online article questioning the frontman’s intentions.

Regardless, the night belonged to The Killers and they showed why they are one of the biggest rock acts around today. They made certain to pack in all their biggest hits including “Somebody Told Me”, “Smile Like You Mean It” and “Human” into their 70 minute set. A triumphant close to the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas 2017 included a trifecta of Killers’ classics “All These Things That I’ve Done”, “When You Were Young” and “Mr. Brightside”. In January the band sets out on an arena tour that will bring them back to SoCal with dates in San Diego (January 30th at the Valley View Casino Center) and two sold-out shows at Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 1st and 2nd.


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