Rock

Mumford & Sons, The 1975 & Twenty One Pilots Merrily Close Out KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas

Mumford and Sons
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Marcus Mumford of Mumford and Sons performs onstage during the KROQ Absolut Almost Acoustic Christmas 2019 at Honda Center on Dec. 8, 2019 in Anaheim, Calif.

Marcus Mumford summed up night two of KROQ's Almost Acoustic Xmas best when he told Billboard backstage of the lineup that "they all feel like headliners." He was referring to the top-heavy bill that saw his group sandwiched between the 1975 and Twenty One Pilots on Sunday night (Dec. 8).

In addition to the three arena headliners playing together, Almost Acoustic Xmas also featured the Raconteurs, who Mumford & Sons shared a similar radio station bill with the night prior in San Jose. Mumford walked away from the evening an even bigger fan than he was before. 

"I watched the 1975 for the first time last night," he said. "Seeing the Raconteurs, I hadn't seen them live before I watched them last night in San Jose, they completely blew my mind. They're just f--king amazing. And we're gonna see the Twenty One Pilots guys tonight, so it's fun. It's inspiring to see other artists at the top of their game."

Indeed, when you have three bands the size of the 1975, Mumford And Sons and Twenty One Pilots playing consecutively, you can be sure that everyone is going to bring their "A" game -- and that goes for the whole show. After strong early sets from Lovelytheband and Interrupters, among others, Of Monsters And Men took things to the next level with a superb 30 minutes highlighted by a joyful "Little Talks" and the closing "Dirty Paws."

The Raconteurs followed that up with a riff-laden eight songs that included "Somedays (I Don't Feel Like Trying)," "Help Me Stranger," "Now That You're Gone" and the closing "Blue Veins." 

Following the Raconteurs isn't easy, but the 1975, who had a lot of fans in the audience, did their best to keep the fury and frenzy going by opening with the punk-paced "People." The lyrics flashed on the screen as fans screamed and danced along while the band showed off their rock chops. In their nine songs the British stars showed off their versatility, moving from the frenetic energy of "People" to the slow jam of the crowd favorite, "Somebody Else" and a healthy dose of poppy dance vibes throughout on songs like "Chocolate" and "It's Not Living (If It's Not With You)." They closed with "The Sound," leaving to a deafening ovation.

Following their fellow headliners Mumford & Sons came out strong with the opening one-two punch of "Guiding Light" and "Little Lion Man." The English folk-rock quartet are a perfect act for this type of show, where they can fill 50 minutes with hit after hit. And they did that, with the passionate "Believe," "I Will Wait" and "The Cave" all getting the entire arena to gleefully sing along with every word. The band ended their set with "Delta."

That left just the night's closing act, Twenty One Pilots, who had just sold out the Honda Center a month earlier on their own run. When Tyler Joseph and Joshua Dun take the stage, you know what you're going to get: the production will be stellar (and likely include a flaming car, as it did on this run), and fans know every word to the hits like "Ride" and "Stressed Out." Twenty One Pilots have become one of the most dependable acts in arena rock, both musically and commercially. It's as much fun to watch the fans as it is them. 

Their set is as much for the little kid, probably no more than 10, singing along and dancing to every song, who had a seat at the railing and could not stop smiling and screaming when Joseph walked through the crowd during the superb closer, "Car Radio."

That moment encapsulated perfectly night two of Almost Acoustic Xmas. With so many headliners and fan favorites on there it was a dream night for the audience.