KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas Night One at the Gibson Amphitheater Last Night

Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly
Smashing Pumpkins headlined. For more photos, check out our slideshow here.
KROQ Almost Acoustic Xmas Night One
December 11, 2010
Gibson Amphitheater

It doesn't feel like the end of the concert year until KROQ throws their annual Almost Acoustic Christmas shows at the Gibson Amphitheater. Embarking on their 21st  year, KROQ brought out bands new and old to appease their listeners and raise some money for charity. Night one is the hard rock night consisting of Smashing Pumpkins, Social Distortion, Bad Religion, My Chemical Romance, Jimmy Eat World, and somehow Cake! 

Smashing Pumpkins wasted no time living up to the hard rock vibe of the night with the slashing guitars of their new song "The Fellowship." Billy Corgan was vicious on his Fender Stratocaster ripping off a solo during "Drown" and tossing his guitar pick into the crowd in the middle of the solo. The highlight of their set undoubtedly was their acoustic cover "Landslide" off the overlooked Pisces Iscariot. The Pumpkins closed their set with a bombastic rendition of "Heavy Metal Machine" with a swirling guitar phaser outro. 

Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly
Social Distortion. For more photos, check out our slideshow here here.
Orange County's finest punk band Social Distortion took no prisoners with a tune off their upcoming new album Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes. Mike Ness still has one of the best punk rock snarls in the business as he ripped through "Sick Boys" and "Through These Eyes" while strumming his gold top Les Paul guitar adorned with a black Orange County sticker. Social Distortion will return to destroy the House of Blues Anaheim on Jan. 12 in case you missed them.

My Chemical Romance had all the boys and girls cheering for them as they are supporting their latest release Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. Lead singer Gerard Way knows how to captivate and engage an audience as he worked through "Welcome To The Black Parade" and "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)". Bonus points to My Chemical Romance for borrowing James Dewees of the Get Up Kids on keyboards.

Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly
My Chemical Romance. For more photos, check out our slideshow here here.
Jimmy Eat World made the most of their time sticking to radio friendly hits like "Bleed American," "Pain," "The Middle" and "Sweetness." Jim Adkins did grab an acoustic guitar and got the audience in the holiday spirit with a glowing rendition of "Last Christmas" that was featured on the Kevin & Bean Christmas albums which unfortunately have been discontinued for a few years. 

Bad Religion are true punk rock icons that seemingly play at every KROQ show whether they have a new album or not. It so happens that their new album The Dissent of Man shows that Bad Religion won't be slowing down anytime soon. Greg Graffin still patrols the stage spewing his highly intellectual lyrics while Greg Hetson leap frogs across the stage with his Gibson SG. Some of the highlights of their set included "American Jesus," "Infected," "Sorrow" and "Los Angeles is Burning."

Cake would have fit nicely on the second night but was a welcome change of pace to the evening with their quirky guitar riffs and John McCrea's deadpan vocal delivery. Their cover of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" was a nice subtle jab at fitting in with the other hard rocking bands on the line up. 

Local Huntington Beach Boys The Dirty Heads proved their mettle by working through a head bobbing set that pleased most of the fans. Their cover of "Paint It Black" impressed along with the requisite cameo by Rome of Sublime for "Lay Me Down." Anberlin is still riding the strength of their song "Impossible" marking two consecutive years in a row for playing the year end KROQ bash. Switchfoot pulled off a daring cover of "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys.  A Day To Remember played their screaming metal core to a half full audience.

Personal Bias: I love the Smashing Pumpkins like it was 1992.

Crowd: KROQ winners, staff and those lucky enough to purchase tickets.

Overheard in the Crowd: "Let's Go Lakers!" was chanted in retort to Billy Corgan mocking Los Angeles since the Lakers were recently beaten by his Chicago Bulls.

Random Notebook Dump: Not as many celebrity sightings as you would think on this particular night.

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