In 1989, KROQ put on its 1st Christmas shindig, although back then it was simply titled the KROQ Xmas Bash. Back in the day, it was just a one-day event and it was first called the KROQ Acoustic Christmas. In later years, as bands plugged in, it went from the Acoustic Christmas show, to the “Almost” Acoustic Christmas show. Over the last 30 years, anybody who’s anybody in Alternative music has played this show. We’ve seen everyone from Dramarama and Social Distortion; to Muse to Blink 182 to Foo Fighters and U2. Here’s the thing–for bands, their greatest danger is not in setting their aim to high, but setting them to low; and then being satisfied with hitting the mark. This year’s lineup is filled with bands that aimed high and continue to aspire for greatness. This show could literally be the most eclectic grouping of successful bands ever seen for a two-day holiday show anywhere at any time.
With the NFL’s newest stadium as a backdrop and two days of mayhem in store this Saturday and Sunday, this year’s KROQ Acoustic Christmas returns to the legendary, Forum in Inglewood. Home to many great concerts, this year Night 1 features The Smashing Pumpkins, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Third Eye Blinds, Greta Van Fleet, Bad Religion, The Interrupters, AFI, AJR and Badflower. There’s much to be said about Night 1. There are iconic bands playing, the kind that are part of music lore. Then, there are two newer bands that have spun the music industry on its ear the past year. Billy Corgan (Pumpkins) and Davey Havok (AFI) always have fans screaming, whereas, Greg Graffin always has legions of fans losing their minds no matter where Bad Religion plays.
The two bands that opened eyes in 2018 turned out to be KROQ favorites. First, hailing from Frankenmuth, Michigan, Greta Van Fleet has brought guitar back to the forefront of the music world. The band has been ordained as the second coming of Led Zeppelin as a result of the booming vocals pounded out by lead singer, Josh Kiszka. Truth-be-told, this band is more than trip to the past with songs like “Highway Tune.” Josh has a range that would have gotten a nod from the likes of Tom Petty and Freddie Mercury. The band is simply electric, and they hold their own creating a signature sound that has opened the door for a harder rock sound in alternative music.
On the other end of the spectrum, from Los Angeles, The Interrupters have literally revived a genre that we’ve all been waiting for. SoCal, Orange County in particular, was the epicenter for the 3rd wave of ska-punk. This genre has been re-launched as a result of the success of radio friendly songs hitting the airwaves from coast-to-coast and around the world by The Interrupters. Lead singer, Aimee Interrupter has the most unique voice we’ve heard in some time. The band (consisting of the Bivona brothers) is currently the most entertaining act you’ll see anywhere. Collectively, they pump out catchy, toe-tapping songs like “She’s Kerosene”, “Gave You Everything”, “A Friend Like Me” and “Take Back the Power.” They’re energetic and they’ll literally make you want to get up and dance. No disrespect to any other band playing the two-day spectacle; it’s likely The Interrupters will be the stand-out band of two-day show and 2018 in general.
If that isn’t enough of a Christmas gift, Night 2 has a stellar lineup as well. Taking the stage will be some long-time KROQ favs. Coming to SoCal all the way from London, England is Florence + The Machine. Other acts bringing the noise include Death Cab for Cutie, Bastille, Mike Shinoda, Billie Eilish, Young the Giant, Chvches, Mike Posner and Lovelytheband. The show stopper for Night 2 is Florence Welch, she’s a performer that’ll leave you speechless. While Death Cab for Cutie has been on the hit parade for years now churning out hit-after-hit-after-hit. Mike Shinoda is also a crowd favorite who has delivered on solo shows the past year. From the OC, there’s Young the Giant, they too have proven to be a very entertaining band. In the end, no matter what night you go to, you’ll see great bands, you’ll dance and most likely, you’ll leave with a smile. Then again, because it’s a KROQ event, you never know who else just might show up and sing a song or two!
For full details and tickets for KROQ’s Absolut Almost Acoustic Christmas, click here.