After the hard-rock assault of Saturday, night No. 2 of this year’s KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas on Sunday presented a much more balanced lineup. The five-hour show featured a hip-hop group, a couple of singer-songwriters, a temperamental arena rock band, a pair of quality Brit-pop outfits and even a television comedian.
Coldplay — playing the event for the third straight year — impressed, as always, with its impassioned delivery and sympathetic mix of acoustic and electric guitar parts. Front man Chris Martin was the star of the night, and justified his current status as one of rock’s most talented pinup boys with a riveting display of emotion and energy. Meanwhile, the Vines, another Brit crossover hopeful, brought the most energy to the night and impressed with tracks from their Capitol debut.
Despite its enormous record sales and an impressive box office history, headliner Creed was completely out of place at a KROQ show, and most of the crowd fled as soon as Coldplay finished and the rotating stage began to turn. Creed’s Scott Stapp tossed his microphone down and the band left the stage less than a minute into its first song. They returned a few minutes later, after everyone who wanted to leave had exited, to finish their set of Pearl Jam-inspired anthems.
Jurassic 5 began the show with a stirring performance, followed by a decent turn from the melodic punk of Maryland-based Good Charlotte. Surfer-boy Jack Johnson, who was joined for the last third of his set by his pal Ben Harper, earned plenty of screams from the ladies in the house for his sensitive folk-rock stylings, particularly during radio hits “Bubble Toes” and “Flake,” latter featuring Harper on lap-slide guitar.
Beck and the Flaming Lips — fresh from their own Universal show just two weeks earlier — combined holiday tunes with songs from both artists’ catalog. Their turn ended with numerous costumed extras onstage tossing candy and confetti as actress Juliette Lewis and many of the other musicians on the bill offered a group rendition of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”
“Saturday Night Live’s” Jimmy Fallon and a band of friends in coordinated ski lodge sweaters offered a mix of music and comedy, highlighted by “Idiot Boyfriend.”
Proceeds from the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas benefit numerous local youth charities and orgs, including Para los Ninos.