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At Night Two of KROQ’s Acoustic Christmas, Backstage Is Designated an Aggression-Free Zone

There was no lack of onstage action at night one of the KROQ Acoustic Christmas concert, as was well-documented here over the weekend when Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme violently kicked local photograper Chelsea Lauren in the face, and the topic of aggression against working media wasn’t far from anyone’s mind. In fact, The Killers’ Brandon Flowers addressed it head-on.

Midway through the band’s set, which included two Morrissey covers to make up for Moz’s last-minute cancelation, the singer brought up a photographer from the pit — the only one not restricted from shooting The Killers that night, according to sources — to express that all are welcome and should feel safe at a rock concert. “They make us look good,” Flowers told the crowd at the Forum. “We need to take care of these people.”

When you have more than a dozen bands playing frenetically quick-changing sets, one would think chaos would ensue backstage, too. But it seemed the KROQ crew was determined to return a sense of normalcy to the scene.

Backstage, the supergroup that brings together three members of Rage Against The Machine with Public Enemy’s Chuck D and DJ Lord and Cypress Hill’s B-Real, felt their duty was to give memorable performances at every stop. “We’re both a new band and a band with a pretty rich history, so we’ve got a chip on our shoulder, we want to prove ourselves every night for what we are now,” said Tom Morello. “But we also have some pretty big arrows in the quiver.”

Royal Blood was also looking forward to more gigs. With a strong new album, “How Did We Get So Dark,” released in 2017, the hard rock duo of Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher said they’re up for headliner status. “We’re gonna go do a tour of Australia, which is gonna be really big venues,” Kerr said. “We’re gonna do a show with Pearl Jam [in South America], which is very exciting.”

Royal Blood have hung with Foo Fighters and Metallica, among others, but Pearl Jam is a unique entity in rock as one of the most consistent touring bands, regularly playing to sold out arenas and stadiums. “I think to play shows that size that consistently is an incredible feat and we love what we do and I think if we could do it as long as they’ve been doing it then f—ing A,” Kerr added.

For Vance Joy, opening up night two of Acoustic Christmas, as he did two years ago, felt a bit like déjà vu? “But a lot has happened in the meantime,” he said. “We’re all a bit older.” One of the bands Joy admires is the Killers, calling himself a “legit fan” of the Las Vegas band.

Foster The People are a Los Angeles-based band, but surprisingly, frontman Mark Foster was new to the Forum. “I’ve never even seen a show here,” he said. Not so for his bandmates, who took in a U2 show in 2015.  “I’m the only one who missed it,” cracked Foster. “I’ve been 86’ed from the Forum actually.”

Franz Ferdinand had a full schedule for their stop in L.A. The band was also in town for an underplay at the Echoplex and to shoot a new video. Keeping them busy during off hours, bassist Bob Hardy said he likes to check out Nick Cave’s Instagram. “I’m fascinated by watching him check out of a hotel,” he said. “I want to see Nick Cave in a service station.”

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