Rock may have been shut out of the main categories at next year’s Grammy Awards, but as the sold-out crowd at the opening night (Dec. 10) of the annual KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas proved, there is still a loyal throng for guitar-led hooks.
Just take opening band Strumbellas, who have scored two radio hits this year with the brilliant sing-along “Spirits” and the follow up, “We Don’t Know.” A largely unknown entity going into 2016, the Toronto band became one of the breakout alternative acts of the year, playing numerous festivals, including Lollapalooza, Life Is Beautiful and Austin City Limits, among others. So they were a perfect group to kick off the two-night festival that recaps the year in alternative radio live.
Headliners Blink-182, who were nominated for Best Rock Album at this year’s Grammys, were arguably rock’s biggest act this year, hitting No. 1 on their return to the charts with California and selling out arenas around the country. Their hour-plus headlining set, which ranged from the Blink anthems like “I Miss You,” dedicated to all the ladies, “The Rock Show” and “What’s My Age Again,” as well as new songs such as “Bored to Death” and the closing “Los Angeles,” was the celebratory culmination of a triumphant year.