After a two-year hiatus, Audacy’s KROQ Acoustic Christmas returned on Sat, Dec. 10th at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, CA. Celebrating the best in rock and alternative music, the 30th installment featured performances by Imagine Dragons, The Black Keys, Social Distortion (filling in for Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Death Cab for Cutie, Jimmy Eat World, Yungblud, Måneskin, The Interrupters and Wet Leg. This year the show benefits two local organizations dedicated to supporting local youth education - Para Los Niños and Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center.
The night started with a fun set by Music Connection's July cover artist, the British indie rock band Wet Leg. They've had a big year this year with the success of their debut single “Chaise Longue” and album Wet Leg – earning four nominations for the upcoming 65th Annual 2023 Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist, Best Alternative Music Performance ("Chaise Longue"), Best Alternative Music Album and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. One of the best up-and-coming acts to keep an eye out for. Their witty melodic lyrics were a big hit with the crowd. KROQ and Audacy know how to organize a show. They use a revolving stage, so once one act is done performing it twists to reveal the next band. It's a brilliant strategy to keep the energy up.
One of the best acts of the entire night had to go to the Los Angeles ska-punk band The Interrupters. They've got an infectious attitude and dance moves, they know how to entertain a crowd. Lead vocalist Aimee Interrupter has fierce and commanding vocals that were perfect for the live rendition of the exhilarating anthems “In the Mirror,” “Raised by Wolves” and “She’s Kerosene.” Italian rock band Måneskin brought cool energy with their glam outfits and rocker personas. Their fame exploded after winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021, earning their first nomination for Best New Artist at the upcoming 2023 Grammy Awards. Vocalist Damiano David, bassist Victoria De Angelis, guitarist Thomas Raggi, and drummer Ethan Torchio are a powerful combination - they all ooze charisma and their musical talent are on full display. The band played all their popular tracks including the Italian track “ZITTI E BUPONI,” “THE LONELIEST” and “Beggin.”
English singer YUNGBLUD brought the chaotic youthful energy that was missing to the evening. His no fucks attitude and raunchy antics were amusing to witness. He's not afraid to start to mosh pits and hype the crowd up with his fun tracks including the popular “The Funeral” and “Loner.”
Rock bands Jimmy Eat World and Death Cab for Cutie have been in the music game since the late 90s and are pros at what they do best – perform live. Their music really resonated with the crowd as many grew up listening to them on KROQ and other radio stations. Jimmy Eat World even brought the holiday spirit with their rock rendition of “Last Christmas.”
The real heroes of the night were Southern California punk band Social Distortion, who replaced the Yeah Yeah Yeahs last minute as their guitarist Nick Zinner is sick with pneumonia. It was a full circle moment for Social Distortion as they played the first ever Almost Acoustic Christmas in 1990. Going on 40 years strong, they know how to get the crowd riled up with their chaotically loud punk energy and array of familiar hits including “Ring of Fire” and “Story Of My Life.” Ohio duo The Black Keys got down to business and gave us a funky soulful set. Childhood friends Dan Auerbach (lead singer/guitar) and Patrick Carney (drums) are gifted musicians who push the envelope of garage rock and country blues. The entire arena was singing along to their catchy mix of old hits including “Lonely Boy" and newer ones like “Wild Child”. The night ended with a thunderous performance from Imagine Dragons. Lead singer Dan Reynolds excludes charisma and knows how to get the energy pumping. He feeds off the energy of their passionate fans, he always takes time to chat with the crowd and preach positivity and kindness. Imagine Dragons have figured out the perfect formula to make catchy songs year after year. They're the biggest alt-rock band in the world and were the perfect band to close out the night.