Reviewed by Christina Radish
The annual KROQ Almost Acoustic Xmas concerts, held on December 8th and 9th at the Gibson Ampitheatre in Universal City, Calif., are always one of the hottest tickets in town because it gives music fans the opportunity to not only see some of rock’s heaviest hitters as headliners (this year, included Linkin Park on Night #1 and Jack White and The Killers on Night #2), but also some of it’s most promising newer talent.
This year, it was especially nice to see so many women back on the bill, after being hard-pressed to find a single one, in recent years. Whether it was the snarl from Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson or Gwen Stefani’s delicate duet to “Glycerine” with husband Gavin Rossdale (who was there with his band, Bush), or various female musicians on drums, keyboard and guitars, there was a wide range of women taking control of the stage. Meanwhile, the understated beauty of Night #1 act The Lumineers was a nice contrast to harder rock acts, like Rise Against and AWOLNATION, and the reggae grooves of Slightly Stoopid. And closing act Linkin Park turned in an explosive hour-long set that was pitch-perfect and truly electric.
Night #2 kicked things off with Imagine Dragons, who had the pleasure of playing to an already packed house, and was followed by soulful singer Alex Clare, Icelandic act Of Monsters and Men, the quirky Neon Trees and dance-rock innovators M83, before fun. gave the place a more upbeat party atmosphere. After her one-song surprise appearance the first night, Gwen Stefani brought all of No Doubt out the second night, to turn in a high-energy set of all of the band’s biggest hits. And before The Killers brought down the house with their closing set, which was a perfect way to end the night, guitar virtuoso Jack White lost himself in the music in a way that only a born musician truly can.
Exclusive Photos: 2012 KROQ Almost Acoustic Xmas Concerts Gallery