INGLEWOOD—Coming back with a vengeance after being cancelled the last two years because of COVID, the annual KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas returned with a lineup jam packed with titans of rock including Imagine Dragons, Death Cab For Cutie and Social Distortion who performed on Saturday, December 10 at the Forum.
The Forum was lit up in holiday red and green for the epic bill. It marks the 30th Almost Acoustic for KROQ, it was a celebration filled with moshing Santa’s in the pit, a moment so joyous you wonder who was having the better time: the fans or the artists?
“KROQ, you’re the reason we have a career. Thank you for that,” said Imagine Dragons front man, Dan Reynolds. Imagine Dragons delivered an outstanding show, filled with radio hits which connected and resonated with the crowd.
Everyone in the rafters were singing through their biggest tracks including “Believer,” “It’s Time,” “Natural,” “Radioactive” and their signature hit “Enemy.” With a setlist and performance crafted for stadiums, their set and message was well received from the boisterous crowd.
There’s a very specific history when it comes to the SoCal KROQ sound and the bands that helped shape it. Over the years, a handful of veteran KROQ bands have become regulars at the Christmas show. For example, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were forced to pull out of the event last minute due to guitarist Nick Zinner’s battle with pneumonia.
No fear, Orange County legends Social Distortion saved the day by filling in on such short notice. The band is a well-oiled machine blasting through the punk legends’ set included fan favorites “Reach for the Sky,” “Ball and Chain,” and “Ring of Fire,” as well as new song “Tonight” for the Social D diehards and a stellar cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.”
Social Distortion played the very first Almost Acoustic Christmas in 1990.
Other standouts included The Black Keys, who slowed-down, acoustic intro for “Little Black Submarines” had the audience lighting up the Forum sky with their flashlights before ending the set with everyone on their feet for the dance hit “Lonely Boy.”
Jimmy Eat World played their sixth KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas showcasing a parade of hits. Kicking off strong with “A Praise Chorus,” they continued to jam through timeless songs that everybody knows and will forever be known to alternative music fans like “Pain,” and “Bleed American.”
Ska-punk darlings the Interrupters, from Pasadena who KROQ supported early on, took the stage for their third consecutive year at Almost Acoustic Christmas and brought a party with them. “To an L.A. band like us who grew up listening to it every year on the radio or going to it when we could — it was a dream come true,” said guitarist Kevin Bivona.
Judging by the sellout crowd and the standing ovations, a good time was had by all.