Thank you for coming to the 22nd Annual KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas! You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. Or, well, we guess you could. How often do you think they check to see if someone is shacked up in the Bates Motel?
We’ve lived with creepier people.
“Yeah, I saw Jane’s Addiction. It was a f**king good year. And if you’re having trouble getting gifts you can do what I do: you can f**king steal them,” Perry Farrell exclaimed before launching into the eternally sonically-forward funk-rock tune “Been Caught Stealing.” Her even threw a little scat in their to up the ante, although his fingerless leather gloves, neck bling, and their present-throwing babes in black lingerie were really enough.
[pullquote quote="Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and all those other religious things that I never really think about." credit="Perry Farrell "]Of course, there is always more so while Farrell quipped that he “always like this time of year; I hope up and get fucked up. Because no one is calling, what else am I gonna do?,” Dave Navarro loomed mysteriously in the background, and Stephen Perkins requested that they do “this right” while playing “Irresistible Force,” Jane’s Addiction brought out a miniature laser show followed by the funky “Stop!”
They ended the night on a high note by playing “Jane Says” and with Farrell vocalizing his feelings on the holidays: “Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and all those other religious things that I never really think about. I just like the holidays because I get to give presents. I also like the holidays because I get to get presents. C’mon ladies.”
Despite the background players, it’s impressive just how much sound [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Patrick Carney [/lastfm]and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Dan Auerbach [/lastfm]of the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Black Keys[/lastfm] get from their instruments alone. It almost seems like a sonic conundrum, but the proof if there when they are vibrating the whole building with their power and Auerbach’s passionate, soul-fueled vocal overtures.
And the sex appeal of the duo is could seem puzzling to some, not because the Black Keys aren’t sexy, but because Carney and Auerbach do such a good job being stoic and normal “everyday” dudes, not outrightly showing their penchant for sultry,gritty music and a pocketful of dirty secrets.
Just like last year, The Black Keys were definitely a crowd favorite, sending the audience into a dancing frenzy with songs like “Howlin’ For You,” “Next Girl,” ”Everlasting Light, ”Chop And Change,” my personal favorite, “Gold On The Ceiling,” and the popular “Tighten Up” and “Lonely Boy.”
“In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die/Where you invest your love, you invest your life,” the talented, ever poetic Marcus Mumford sings plaintively in “Awake My Soul.” The 24-year-old London folk singer evokes a sense of westernized Americana that might seem contradictory to his British roots, but in fact, the Mumford of Mumford and Sons was born in Southern California–right down the street in Anaheim.
And it seems that locals love this almost “local” band intensely; most of the audience was mouthing the lyrics to most of their songs in perfect synchronicity. With their multi-instrumental talent, Mumford & Sons are true musical talents and it’s hard not to watch them play banjo, kickdrum, or blaring away on a harmonica all at the same time. It’s also hard not to sing-a-long to their infectious songs like “Roll Away Your Stone” (during which Mumford’s strings broke–three times), “Awake My Soul,” “White Blank Page,” “The Cave,” or “Little Lion Man.”
Mumford & Sons said that this is their last show of the year and they are going to spend time with their families for Christmas. They are also working on completing their upcoming album which included the song “Lover Of The Light,” a song infused with a more soulful sound.
Perhaps inspired by the popularity of that one (the audience seemed to know that song as well, despite its newness), Mumford & Sons also played another new song called “Ghosts That We Knew.” A moody love song, the silent moments let hordes of girls scream things like “I love you” and “I want your baby.” We do believe that he is taken by the graceful young ingenue, Carey Mulligan, girls.
But, in those intimate musical moments, Mumford lets us pretend that his unabashed romantic sentiments are for us alone.
In what was essentially a righteous indie-rock jam session, a very bearded [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Ben Gibbard[/lastfm] from [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Death Cab For Cutie [/lastfm]came out with a look of rock ‘n roll disdain in his eyes, one we wouldn’t expect from this normally softspoken gentleman and tore it up on stage. There wasn’t any words, diatribes, audience meanderings.
Death Cab For Cutie just came on stage, turned the lights down low, soaked in the collective energy of the room, and played, for the most part, extended versions of their songs like “Doors Unlocked And Open,” “Crooked Teeth,” “You Are A Tourist,” “I Will Possess Your Heart,” and “Soul Meets Body.”
Giada DeLaurentiis is backstage? Can she come up here and whip up some polenta for me? I’m starving.
Maybe a remnant of Novem-beard?
“Can you hear the voices because here they come?” sings [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Florence Welch[/lastfm] of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Florence + The Machine[/lastfm], wildly dancing in a paisley and floral-print caftan. The gorgeous British chanteuse is an anomaly in the modern music industry with a musical-style evoking [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Kate Bush[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Creatures[/lastfm]-era [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Siouxsie Sioux[/lastfm], and a more soulful [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Bjork[/lastfm].
Welch has a way of sending the audience into a trance with her voice; her singing voice sends the audience soaring into ecstatic cries while her sweet speaking voice coos shyly.
Despite being a unique gem, the world has allowed Florence Welch to shine brightly and, in conjunction with Adele, Welch is changing the state of the music industry for women. Her newest album Ceremonials, from which she sang “Only If For A Night,” “Shake It Out,” “What The Water Gave Me,” “No Light, No Light,” and “Never Let Me Go,” is an artstic treasure that highlights her femininity–a femininity that Welch is not afraid to embellish on stage with flowing gowns, graceful dance movements, and ladylike engagement. Welch is truly a magical, life-altering performer.
This is completely biased, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Noel Gallagher [/lastfm]is one of the most talented musicians/singers-songwriters of our time, whether or not he’s playing one of his many iconic Oasis songs or one of his fabulous songs off his new album High Flying Birds.
Gallagher didn’t talk at all, really, only to “thank” the audience in a low inaudible mumble but he played some of the best songs off his new album like “Everybody’s On The Run,” “If I Had A Gun,” “AKA…What A Life?,” “The Death Of You And Me,” and Oasis songs like “Don’t Look Back In Anger,” and a magically-arranged acoustic version of “Wonderwall.”
Agreed. Noel Gallagher is amazing. Get back to your seats, children. Listen to one of the biggest Britpop icons ever and one of the best songwriters of our generation.
[pullquote quote="I have to get something off my chest or I don't think I can carry on. " credit="Matthew Schultz of Cage The Elephant"]Dirty, grungy Southern rock boys, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Cage the Elephant[/lastfm], know that they way to win over a woman’s heart is grandfather sweaters, torn up band t-shirts, long locks, stage diving, and lots of bass. Lead singer, Matthew Schultz, is out of control, but in a good way, balancing precariously on the audience member’s hands while screaming at the top of his lungs and singing songs like “Aberdeen,” Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” and “Shake Me Down,” gyrating wildly all over the floor, and making absurdist jokes about how if the stage kept on spinning it would be like the world’s best game of “peekaboo.”
“I have to get something off my chest or I don’t think I can carry on. Wouldn’t it be cool if this stage spun the whole time?.” Matthew continued, probably not joking, ‘It would be like the greatest game of peekaboo of all time. Peekaboo, where’d the band go?
Not like you could ever miss a band like Cage The Elephant.
Seriously think [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Matthew Schultz[/lastfm] from [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Cage the Elephant [/lastfm]is my Soul(Asylum)-Mate.
Speaking personally, I have seen so many [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Foster The People[/lastfm] live shows this year, starting from their gigs at the Echo earlier in 2011 (oh my god, I can’t believe that wasn’t even a year ago) and when Mark Foster told the audience that this was “one of the most fun years of our lives,” I can only assume being born or losing his virginity could possibly top Foster The People’s rapid ascent to fame this year.
And, personally speaking again, Foster the People never, ever puts on a bad or boring show.
From the sparkly laser lights that add to the frenetic pace of the songs to Foster’s spastic dancing to the primal-style drumming and the inevitable dubstep-style dance breakdown that Foster the People bring out towards the end of their set, whether the band is playing “Houdini,” “Call It What You Want,” “Don’t Stop (Color On The Walls),” “Helena Beat,” or their hit single, “Pumped Up Kicks,” this band is going to continue to get huge. After all, it’s impossible when they “focus” on “their ability.”
Our golden girl, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Florence Welch[/lastfm] apparently has a good sense-of-humor about her infamous stage turn last year while she was in the middle of “Dog Days Are Over” and had just flown in from the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.
The redhead chanteuse laughed about the incident during her interview, talked a bit about Muppets, and Smurf-ette [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Katy Perry [/lastfm]acting as her on last night’s Saturday Night Live.
This just hilariously in–”drunk guy in the crowd yelling ‘Where’s your brother?’ (to [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Noel Gallagher [/lastfm]during interview). Noel’s reply, “Working the merch booth.”
It’s hard not to fall in love with the sultry stare Alisa Xayalith from [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Naked & Famous [/lastfm] gives or the band’s collective New Zealand accents.
The band brought their sex-drenched literatire indie electro-rock to the stage with few words, just a thank you and seamless integration of their songs like “All Of This,” “Girls Like You,” “The Sun,” “Frayed,” and their current hit radio single, “Young Blood.”
Admittedly, all we really knew of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Grouplove[/lastfm] is their amazing single “Colours,” [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Foster The People[/lastfm]‘s Twitter professed love for them, and how they met at an artist’s residency on Crete. The quirky, exuberant Los Angeles-based band has received some of the biggest uproars of critical attention this year; likewise they received a huge burst of approval from the audience at Almost Acoustic Christmas despite being the first band to play.
Alternating lead singers, Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi, are absolutely dynamic on stage, Hooper’s girlie, twee style covering up a raucous stage swagger while Zucconi look is totally ’90s-grunge sex symbol. Those two disparate images play off each other well with songs like “Don’t Say Oh Well,” “Lovely Cup,” and “Tongue-Tied.”
Grouplove are definitely a group to fall in love with for 2012.
[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Cage the Elephant[/lastfm] performed an acoustic christmas song for their, ummm, Acoustic Christmas interview! Written especially for today!
Bean says watch the webcast!
[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Grouplove[/lastfm], fresh from Portland, bringing some lovin’ to the KROQ Almost Acoustic Stage. We caught them doing a little Lion King during soundcheck.
Outside in interview-land, Foster The People talked about traveling all over the world and had literally just gotten off a plane from LAX–all dressed up with somewhere awesome to go. Here, obvs.
Foster the People also talked about how much they love Kenny G, how he loves them, and their SNL stint with him. SNL, Foster The People, and Kenny G? Will we be getting something akin to Lonely Island’s “Jack Sparrow?” One can only hope.
Totally powernapping high-school-math-class-style before Night Two of KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas (and after the jingle-balls-out after-partying last night).
[photogallerylink id=149691 align=right]We made it here alive and in relatively one piece, minus the chunks missing from our liver (poor liver) because how could we miss some of our favorite bands?!
[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Jane’s Addiction [/lastfm]said it best: