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Florence + the Machine, Death Cab for Cutie & More Not So Silent Night Highlights

Florence + the Machine
Getty for radio.com

Florence + the Machine performs at Not So Silent Night presented by Radio.com on Dec. 6, 2018 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Alternative is back!

That was the rallying cry repeated in between sets by DJs at Alt 92.3's first-ever Not So Silent Night concert at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on Thursday night (Dec. 6). And while technically it's been back since last year when the station's debut filled a six-year alt-rock radio void in New York City, the show -- which was presented in partnership with Radio.com and benefiting the American Cancer Society -- was the first of its kind since the format switch, and that's cause for celebration.

The night, which featured eight acts over the course of five hours, kicked off with a brief set by indie pop trio AJR, who made the most of the 15 minutes allotted them as fans trickled in to the Barclays Center. After enthusiastic performances of "Weak" and "Sober Up," the group, who write and produce in their living room, demonstrated how they put a song together, slowly layering grooves over beats before closing with their Super Size Me 2 theme, "Burn the House Down."

And just like that, it was time for Chvrches. (Seriously—AJR wrapped at 7:15, and Chvrches were onstage by 7:18. Props to everyone responsible for those quick changes in between sets.) Lauren Mayberry and company tore through their five songs with little banter in between ("We're efficient!" Mayberry cracked) and proved themselves absolutely deserving of one of the longer set times. By the time they wrapped with "The Mother We Share," the crowd, which continued to fill out as they performed, was fully engaged.

One of the night's most touching moments came during Mike Shinoda's set. Before he took the stage, a backstage video featuring him drawing a fish for his late Linkin Park bandmate Chester Bennington played on the screens, and toward the end of his performance, Shinoda took a moment to pay tribute to Bennington, who passed away in July 2017.

"When I go out into the world and I talk about Chester, a lot of times I tell people in the beginning there was grief, there was sadness, we were destroyed," he told the crowd. "But as time went on I realized it was an opportunity to celebrate him." He cited Brooklyn's dedication to celebrating the life of The Notorious B.I.G. as inspiration before asking the crowd to sing Bennington's part on "In the End."

Bastille, riding high on the success of their collaboration with Marshmello, "Happier," kept the momentum going, and Foster the People didn't disappoint, offering a mix of Sacred Hearts Club tracks, an obligatory run through "Pumped Up Kicks" and their new, catchy single, "Worst Nites."

Some of the crowd felt subdued during the first half of Death Cab for Cutie's set—maybe due to demographics, or perhaps just because two and a half hours into the evening, it was time for a pee break? Whatever the reason, those who ducked out and missed the beginning missed a killer performance of "I Will Possess Your Heart," complete with the album version's full, long instrumental intro. The crowd perked up for "Soul Meets Body" and truly got moving during "The Sound of Settling," which Ben Gibbard dedicated to Buzzcocks frontman Pete Shelley, who died Thursday at the age of 63.

Muse closed out the proceedings with a high-energy set full of favorites that saw devoted fans dancing and screaming along (even the people up in the fancy VIP boxes were grooving to "Supermassive Black Hole"), but the best performance of the night, however, was easily Florence + the Machine. From the moment she hit the stage with "Ship to Wreck," she had the entire Barclays Center enraptured, and she made every moment count, delivering powerful performances of "Hunger" (which addresses her previous struggle with an eating disorder") and "Patricia" (her tribute to Patti Smith) before imploring fans to put away their phones for "Dog Days Are Over" and "be vulnerable."

The crazy part? They did. "Dog Days" and "Shake It Out" managed to command the arena's full attention. They jumped when she jumped, they sang along, they hung on every word and cheered as she ran the length of the stage. If you've seen Florence + the Machine live before, you know it's all typical for her, but that never makes it any less impressive.

And "impressive" is the word that perhaps best sums up Not So Silent Night's first outing here in New York. Now that "alternative is back," we'll have to see what's in store for 2019.

Not So Silent Night setlists:
AJR:
Weak
Sober Up
Burn the House Down

Chvrches:
Get Out
Leave a Trace
Miracle
Clearest Blue
The Mother We Share

Mike Shinoda:
Remember the Name
Waiting for the End/Where Did You Go
Make It Up As I Go
About You
Papercut
In the End
Good Goodbye/Bleed it Out
Running from My Shadow

Bastille:
Good Grief
Blame
Flaws
World Gone Mad
Happier
Quarter Past Midnight
Pompeii

Foster the People:
Don't Stop (Color on the Walls)
Lotus Eater
Houdini
Worst Nites
Pumped Up Kicks
Sit Next to Me

Death Cab for Cutie:
I Will Possess Your Heart (Album Version)
The Ghosts of Beverly Drive
Gold Rush
Northern Lights
Crooked Teeth
Cath
Soul Meets Body
The Sound of Settling

Florence and the Machine:
Ship to Wreck
Hunger
Patricia
Dog Days Are Over
Delilah
What Kind of Man
Shake It Out

Muse:
Algorithm
Psycho
Pressure
Uprising
Break It To Me
The 2nd Law: Unsustainable
Madness
Thought Contagion
Supermassive Black Hole
Time Is Running Out
Starlight
Knights of Cydonia


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