KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas Night Two

— by Caroline on Crack

Flickr Shot by starbright31
Flickr Shot by starbright31

Let me preface this by saying this isn’t a music review at all.

Last night I attended my first KROQ concert ever. I usually shy away from those because 1) they usually sell out quickly and 2) I’m not crazy about the KROQ crowd situation. But I just had to see the Almost Acoustic Christmas Night 2 lineup, especially with Muse headlining. So as an early Xmas present for the bf, I got us tickets to this rock holiday extravaganza since we (mostly him) loves nearly every band on the bill: Spoon, Silversun Pickups, The Shins, Modest Mouse, and of course Muse. We ain’t so crazy about Jimmy Eat World, and what’s a Feist?

Because of a glitch in Ticketmaster I was prevented from purchasing some loge seats (I had the tickets in my grasp and then got kicked off due to a random TM error, arrrrghh!) so had to settle on some nosebleeds up in the far left corner of the Gibson Amphitheater. Oh well, at least we got to see a good profile of all the performers and it’s better than nothing since the concert sold out within minutes, right?

The first band up, Spoon, started at 6 on the dot. In fact the whole night, all the bands hit the stage like clockwork. This was facilitated by the rotating stage so when the roadies were breaking down one band’s gear, the stage would spin with the upcoming band’s instruments already set up. Each set was 30 minutes long. At least for the first few bands. Jimmy Eat World and Muse had longer sets with the latter being about an hour long.

And to KROQ’s credit, they didn’t spend too much time between sets chatting up the audience. Instead each KROQ dj simply introduced the band. Not much witty banter, no giveaways.

So as Spoon and then Feist and Silversun Pickups performed, the theater still had ample empty seats. People kept getting up to get beer, nachos, popcorn, churros, pizza, margaritas…always consuming and consuming, these people. It wasn’t until The Shins were up that the place filled up and everyone finally settled in their seats.

A couple of girls two rows in front of us broke out a couple of joints and puffed away like mad. “How many hits can a person take?” I asked my bf. “They probably can’t even open their eyes right now,” he replied. We sat back amazed as these girls continued to puff themselves away to oblivion. “Maybe it’s watered-down pot. Maybe it’s a cigarette,” I said. But then we got a whiff of what they were smokin’ and it definitely wasn’t tobacco.

But fer real though, what does THAT many hits do to a person? The girls seemed fine after and weren’t slow-moving or anything though. Later they took to throwing their jackets over their heads as they puffed away. I guess the people sitting around them didn’t like the smoke signals they were sending up.

Security guards didn’t come up to these girls but they did go up to the girl who was sitting in front of them taking a video with her camera phone of The Shins performing. Two big guys came up behind her (when the two potheads behind her weren’t in their seats) and one of them looked over her shoulder at what she was filming and then said something to make her put the phone away. Oops!

That security guard then left but the other big guy stayed behind I guess to see if she would try it again. She didn’t whip it out again til near the end of the concert when Muse was on stage but didn’t get caught this time.

When The Shins finished their set at 8, it looked like Modest Mouse wasn’t up for another 20 minutes so we took that to mean intermission. Big mistake. Having never been to an Acoustic Christmas before I didn’t even think about the possibility of there being a surprise guest.

Sure enough, as I was downstairs buying a concert tee (very cute btw but $35 cute? meh) I heard another band start up. It was only 8:05 or something. “Oh, I guess there’s no intermission after all,” I said to my bf. “I know this song but I didn’t know it was Modest Mouse,” he said.

And when we got all the way back to our seats we saw that it was in fact The Killers. Awesome. They only performed four songs, though, like “Somebody Told Me” and a Christmas song with the singer from Modest Mouse dressed as Santa Claus.

That was actually the only Christmas song of the evening, and even though this concert is called “Almost Acoustic” it wasn’t at all. Not even a little bit. Not that I’m complaining but shouldn’t they change the name? I’m guessing it’s just a remnant of the days when “MTV Unplugged” was big.

Anyhoo, in the end, (don’t tell my bf) I really hated our seats. Despite the fact that friends told me that there are no bad seats in the Gibson since it’s a small venue, my seats were horrible. We were so far off to the side that we couldn’t really see the stage.

There was a TV monitor hovering ahead for some close shots of the band but the camera work was terrible, especially when Muse was up. For all the other bands, the camera work was straight. No computer graphics or special effects, just shots of the band performing. Fine. But when Muse was up, all of a sudden a bunch of 1980s computer graphics obscured the images of the band. WTF? Was this at the band’s request? Why only Muse and no one else got this?

Also, there was this numbnut who decided to stand up through three sets even though everyone around him was seated. I was waiting for someone whose view he was actually obstructing to go up to him and ask him to sit his ass down but no one did.

So he remained standing, taking up one third of my view of the theater, and not even dancing although he did hold up his cell phone a couple of times during some slow songs. You know, instead of a lighter that is. At least I could see the band so I didn’t feel I had a right to complain. Plus he was just enjoying the music, I told myself….while the dark side of me really wanted to squirt him with my water bottle.

But, yes, I think I’m too old for the KROQ crowd. This hit home when it seemed like every person around me kept whipping open their cell phones, lighting the dark sections of the theater with them. They were texting their buddies, I assume. All the friggin time. Sigh. Kids. What would they do without their phones?

Also what’s up with all the Uggs? Didn’t that go out of style YET? And if you’re going to wear Uggs, you might want to wear pants with them instead of a mini skirt to, you know, keep up with the “trying to stay warm” theme.

And just when I resigned myself to this next stage of life where I’m obsolete to the young, I see this guy down in the pit wearing a pink T-shirt looking very much like Jerry Garcia with a perm. His dance moves looked straight out of Woodstock ’69 as he flower-child his way through “Supermassive Black Hole” and “Knights of Cydonia.” Aww, gosh bless him.

So yes, even though I hated our seats and the sound system was adequate at best, I LOVED the performances and am more in love with Muse than ever. And no matter what anyone says, Night Two’s lineup kicked Night One’s ass.