Night two of the always popular KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas took the flashback route by inviting a few ’90s juggernauts, namely the Cure and Stone Temple Pilots vocalist Scott Weiland, a couple of KROQ darlings – the Killers and Franz Ferdinand, who also shared the bill on Almost Acoustic Christmas in 2004 – and some newbies to the station with openers Vampire Weekend and Paramore.
Weiland’s early set had the blatantly recovering addict prancing about the stage in a space cowboy getup as he opened with a cover of the Smiths’ “Reel Around the Fountain” and perfectly mimicked the moves of Jack Skellington, as No Doubt drummer Adrian Young pounded away at the skins later in the set.
A show-stopping performance from Scottish party boys Franz Ferdinand proved that fans will Have It So Much Better with their upcoming Tonight: Franz Ferdinand as current single “Ulysses” leading the way.
The secret guests at Acoustic are always the most anticipated, often expected, and usually rumored acts of the night. With a likely upcoming tour and headlining slot at Bamboozle in 2009, No Doubt would have been a shoe in, especially as the band was in attendance that night, but the lovelorn Kanye West shocked fans with a surprise appearance instead. Backed by a full live band and drummers galore to capture the thumping Roland 808 drums on his recent 808s & Heartbreak, ’Ye’s heartfelt “Heartless” and “Love Lockdown” stole the show without disdain.
While the Killers played a stalwart set, sticking with their radio-friendly tunes from all their albums including “Human,” Joy Division’s “Shadowplay,” “When You Were Young,” and “Mr. Brightside,” the night went from blockbuster to lackluster once headliners the Cure took over. A mumbling Robert Smith was obviously lacking the zest he recently brought to the Shrine Auditorium in early June. Sure, the band dug deep into their catalogue, bringing “Killing An Arab” and “Jumping Someone Else’s Train” to life, but even classics like “In Between Days” and “Friday I’m in Love” couldn’t make up for a disappointing closing performance.