Monday, December 15, 2008

KROQ's not even close to acoustic Christmas

I am not much of a concert goer. The last concert I went to was New Year's Eve a few years back when the manfriend won tickets to a Gnarls Barkley/Flaming Lips show at USC's Galen Center, which is the fairly small arena where they have basketball games and the like.

But this year I was in the mood to see some live music. And I was able to score a couple tickets to KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas.

The popular Los Angeles radio station puts on a couple shows that benefit Para los Ninos, a children's charity.

The venue, the Gibson, is fairly small with just over 6,000 seats. Ticket sales are tightly regulated by the station and Ticketmaster to try to keep brokers from getting a bunch and then selling them at huge markups.

So when they went on sale Thursday evening, I was not holding my breath that I would get any.

It was a pleasant surprise when I was able to get two, albeit for not-so-great seats. But the venue was small and the acoustics were good.

The other fun thing was that Kim, my friend from work, also got a ticket. Since she bought one seat, she was able to get a spot in a lower section and closer to the stage.

We made a plan for her to meet at my house and then she, MF and I would go up to Universal City (about 30 miles from my place) together.

We got there, parked and then found the Gibson. It is next to Universal Studios and the retail/restaurant complex known as Universal Citywalk. Since we had some time, we stopped at a restaurant and had a couple drinks before going to the show.

Once we had a happy little buzz going, we wandered back to the theater and checked out the scene outside. There was a large stage where KROQ DJs were interviewing some of the musicians. There also were people passing out beads, glow sticks and a heavily tattooed elf handing out candy canes.

Really. I just have no words for
this picture. The elf, the giant, the tattoos...
Would you like some candy, big boy?
This is MF, all 6'9" of him, with the candy cane elf. The poor elf. His initial reaction to seeing me, 6' tall, and MF was to jump back a bit in shock. But he was a good sport about having his picture taken with someone twice his height.

We also stopped to get shirts and more refreshments. By this point we had missed the opening act, Vampire Weekend. I don't think any of us were that bummed since none of us had really heard of the band before. Though I may check them out online later to see what I missed.

The first band we saw was Snow Patrol. Normally I can take or leave this when I hear it on the radio. But they did sound better live than I would have imagined.

Of course, the situation for taking photos was not ideal. But I gave it a go.




Up next was Scott Weiland. We watched for a couple songs then Kim and I, via text, decided to take a break.


Franz Ferdinand came out next. I have always liked them because they are upbeat and catchy. I had never entertained the idea of seeing them live though. But they were good. The crowd had been fairly tame up to that point, but they got more people on their feet. This set was one of the highlights for me.








KROQ pretty much always throws in an unbilled performance. The surprise guest for our show: Kanye West. It seemed like an odd fit to me (and not usually what I listen to), but he had the crowd bouncing.



Paramore, the only group with any estrogen, came on after Kanye.
Yeah, they were not my favorite. They have a couple songs on the radio that are OK, but not at all my favorite. We listened to a couple songs, but this was another good time for a break.



Another band about which I am ambivalent is Death Cab for Cutie. I mean, other than thinking they have a fairly dumb band name, I don't pay too much attention to the music when it comes on the radio. I don't change the station, but I don't sing along either.
Seems they had a decent following at this show though, several people were up, dancing along to the music. I liked the guy's green beanie.

The camera pretty much did what it wanted in the conditions of constantly moving musicians, erratic lighting and me being far away from the action.
Here is one of my nice blur shots. What is it? Who knows.

Finally, it was time for the Killers. Kim was very excited about the chance to see this band. With good reason. They came out with a song from their new album, but then gave a really good mix of stuff from their older discs. And the crowd was really into it.
I had seen them years ago on SNL and I was not sure about how they would be live, based on that. They were great live. They sounded really good. This and Franz Ferdinand were the highlights for me.



The last band up was The Cure, a band that was very popular way back in my high school days in the late 80's. I was wondering if they would make me feel young again or old.
They made me feel kind of old.
Don't get me wrong, they sounded great. Robert Smith can still deliver, which he did with the lovely "Pictures of You" right up front. But the vibe was much more mellow.
And we all were fading. So we decided to leave before the end of the show. Kim told me earlier today that she heard they played for two hours. There was no way I was going to make it two hours and then drive home.
So yeah, maybe I am old.
But all in all, it was a great evening. We got back to my place and I capped my night with a bourbon and dropped into a lovely deep sleep at about 1 a.m.

4 comments:

Samantha said...

awesome to hear of your night out, Jill ... I wondered how it went and there it was .. a full report!

Lou said...

I would have loved to see Vampire Weekend. Check them out because I love them. Am jealous you saw Franz Ferdinand, The Killers. Would have poked out my eardrums if I had to endure Death Cab :)

Psycho Solo Diver said...

Be careful at concerts. I was at a concert once and some people were apparently smoking marijuana. At least someone said that's what I was smelling.

Wordnerdy said...

Wow, I'm so jealous! What a terrific show. To get that kind of show, I'd have to hit Orlando or Miami. O-Town isn't too far, but the drive back would be awful.

And I agree with "Lou" about Death Cab. That would be a certain time for a break.