Young the Giant

KROQ Absolut Almost Acoustic Christmas Night 2 Recap

December 10, 2018

By Ramon Gonzales

After an incredible first night at the Forum, the Sunday edition of KROQ Absolut Almost Acoustic Christmas 2018 set the bar high for the bands slated to take the stage that evening.

While introducing the final song of their set, Lovelytheband frontman Mitchy Collins detailed a compelling story of how their life as artists has changed in just one year. Collins confessed that around this time last year, he heard “Broken” for the first time on KROQ and thought, “wouldn’t it be cool to be be on the bill at the Almost Acoustic Christmas.” The band managed to make that thought come to fruition by clocking over a billion (with a B) streams of that tune with what was officially the biggest alternative rock song of 2018.

lovelytheband

It’s a reality that wasn’t lost on the band as it was very evident that tonight was big for them. To mark the occasion, the band made great use of their stage time with selections like “These Are My Friends,” “Make Your Feel Pretty,” and even a cover of the R&B party anthem, “Pony” by GInuwine.

Mike Posner

If Mike Posner needed to entertain an entire arena with strictly his charisma, he could. Add into the equation a profound talent for crafting songs and the kind of live energy that’s contagious and you have what could arguably be one of the best performances of the entire Acoustic Christmas weekend. Showcasing new offerings from his latest record A Real Good Kid, Posner and his Legendary Band lived up to the name rocking singles like “Song About You” only to transition into portion of Terror Squad’s “Lean Back.” It’s that kind of versatility that really made MIke’s time memorable. Of course the hits like “Cooler Than Me” and “I Took A Pill In Ibiza” scored direct hits but the kicker was Posner spending last few minutes to bring the music down, sit on the edge and command an entire arena with just is orange microphone and his thoughts.

CHVRCHES

Under a wash of red and blue light Lauren Mayberry and CHVRCHES wasted no time in opening with “Get Out” as the fans shrilled with excitement. The stylized synth of the band filled the Forum in a way that made every song a bit of a spectacle in a good way. Songs like “Leave A Trace” felt gigantic in their live translation and the crowd, as did the band, relished in every minute of it. Even on the more subdued “Miracle,” Mayberry’s voice was allowed to carry he crescendo and when the music hit, it really hit hard. Rounding out the set with this year’s hit “Never Say Die,” it was clear that the room was on a high.

Related: CHVRCHES: 'We’re Going to Have to Pull Together' (KROQXMAS Interview)

Young the Giant

Now considered veterans of the KROQ rotating stage, Young The Giant used a hefty portion of their time to showcase new music from their latest Mirror Master LP. Songs like “Oblivion,” “Superposition,” and “Tightrope” though lesser known still managed to be effective. Tending to the fans, the band still made sure to include the essentials like “Cough Syrup” and closed out with an energized performance of “My Body.” Young The Giant’s set functioned a smart, concise collection of songs that illustrated the band’s evolving sound and their dedication to quality songwriting.

Billie Eilish

As Billie Eilish emerged onstage it became very obvious just who was the most buzzworthy artist of the evening. It would be understood that a 16-year old thrust into the the spotlight would be enamored with it. Billie lives comfortably in it. Performances of songs like “Bellyache” and “idontwannabeyouanymore” don't carry the kind of cadence that would be especially powerful but Eilish performs them in a way that translates as very convincing. While much of the conversation could be about her age, her persona, and her potential, watching EIlish stand in front of the Forum for to perform “When the Party’s Over” was an impressive moment that could very well assert her rank among the elite in pop music. (Not to mention, homegirl essentially ‘dropped the mic’ by walking off the stage to the theme music from The Office.)

Related: This Billie Eilish/Kevin and Bean Interview is So Wild (KROQXMAS Interview)

Mike Shinoda

The KROQ fans knew that Mike Shinoda’s stage time would come with some added emotion given the events of 2018. Shinoda navigated that gracefully as he spoke briefly about the passing of Chester Bennington by simply saying that he wanted the online phenomenon of #MakeChesterProud to become more than a hashtag but something real. The segue into his piano only version of “In The End” was powerful moment such that fans could be seen with tears in their eyes. Complimenting that sincerity is Shinoda’s skill in his own right as a songwriter and performer. In a set that showcased his both lyrical ability and even some pop sensibility on songs like “Crossing A Line,” the K.Flay guested “Make It Up As I Go,” and Grandson-supported "Running From My Shadow," Shinoda proved articulate in his transition as a solo artist.

Bastille

Armed with a brilliant voice and an arsenal of hits, Bastille took to the stage and took full advantage of every minute of their time. To best explain just how well Bastille went over with the crowd, Dan Smith half-jokingly introduced “World Gone Mad” as one of their incredibly sad songs and the fans still went into hysterics. From “Good Grief” to “Bad Blood” to the finale in “Pompeii” there really was no lull during Bastille’s time. But the home run of the evening had to be the performance of “Happier.” While there was a glimmer of hope among the crowd that collaboration with Marshmello might warrant a guest appearance, the single still scored as one of the biggest songs of the night. 

Death Cab For Cutie

As one of the most anticipated bands of the night, Death Cab for Cutie masterfully used a small amount of time to pool both classic and new material into one hell of a set. Newer tunes like “Gold Rush” and “Northern Lights” served as prime examples of just how dialed the band continues to be. Then there are the hits that time after time sent the The Forum into a fit. From “Crooked Teeth” to “Soul Meets Body” the fans got their time to sing right along side Ben Gibbard. Saying goodbye with “The Sound of Settling” really set the bar for a strong close to the evening. 

Florence + The Machine

For the finale, Florence was fire. Starting out with “Ship To Wreck” the fans knew from the beginning they were in something special from The Machine. What they got was a 10-song set of the goods balanced properly with new music and the tunes you just can’t leave without seeing live. Songs like “Hunger” and “Big God” were beautifully haunting. Contrast that with the kind of handclap energy that’s packed into a tune like “Dog Days Are Over” and the set starts to come together with a full range of emotion. For “Cosmic Love,” there was a collective swoon throughout the room. Superlative aside, Florence’s voice really is angelic and for this song in particular, the point was really driven home. Sending the fans home properly, Florence and the Machine performed the poignantly optimistic “Shake It Out” punctuating an underlying theme of positivity that permeated throughout the Almost Acoustic Christmas weekend.