The KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas concerts hit a milestone 25th anniversary this year, playing to two sold-out crowds at the beautifully remodeled Forum in Inglewood, Calif. on December 13th and 14th. The radio station’s multi-act bills are always an interesting balance of some of the biggest bands in rock and some of the newest, and it’s a great gauge for how much the past years’ bands have evolved over time.
With KROQ being the biggest alternative rock station in Southern California, and their annual Christmas concerts being one of the biggest shows of the year, it seemed fitting that the last three bands of Night #1 were all Southern California natives. Lead by vocalist Brandon Boyd, Incubus, who hail from Calabasas, showcased strong vocals on such hits as “Megalomaniac,” “Wish You Were Here,” “Anna Molly,” “Pardon Me” and “Drive.” Their relaxed, laid-back vibe spread throughout the venue and had everyone singing along.
Next was Linkin Park, who have played this particular show seven times now, opening the night on their first appearance, only to skyrocket to headliner by the following year. Their set of hit after hit showcased the band’s perfect blend of talent and passion, making it clear why they are one of the top rock acts in the world. They are an impressive band to watch, and no one can hold a scream quite like Chester Bennington. Joined by System of a Down guitarist Daron Malakian on “Rebellion” and Rise Against frontman Tim McIlrath on “Bleed it Out,” they blasted through songs from their collection of albums, including “Final Masquerade,” “Numb,” “In the End,” “Faint,” “Crawling,” “Until the End” and “What I’ve Done,” with the promise to return for another U.S. tour in the new year, this time teaming up with Rise Against.
Earlier in the night, Royal Blood opened the show, followed by energetic sets from New Politics (who frontman even did a bit of break dancing, much to the crowd’s enjoyment) and Walk the Moon. Rise Against, Bush and Fall Out Boy were all in top form, keeping the fans singing along.
Closing out Night #1 were the eclectic, bombastic tunes of System of a Down, who got the crowd on the floor worked up into a mosh pit frenzy. Serj Tankian is a compelling frontman, with his blend of dramatic vocals and equally as dramatic facial expressions. Altogether, it was a great night of music that will prove a lot to live up to in 2015.
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