Live 105 just dropped the lineup of its yearly Not So Silent Night concert at Oracle Arena and it's the best one yet. This year's lineup does a fine job of appealing to a slew of musical tastes as there's something here for indie rock heads and the more mainstream crowd alike.
Headliner Weezer is one of the biggest alternative rock bands in the world and so they will resonate with modern crowds, but also allow anyone who grew up in the '90s to soak in the nostalgia of songs off of the legendary self-titled “Blue Album” and Pinkerton. Ben Gibbard-led Death Cab For Cutie recently played to a sold out crowd at Berkeley's Greek Theater, in support of its well-executed new album Kintsugi. Gibbard is a rock star of the highest order and seeing Death Cab live is a chance to fully understand this claim.
Bastille sold out Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in November, and they're the third name on the NSSN bill. If that's not evidence of how stacked this lineup is, than I don't know what is. CHVRCHES makes their way on the bill after a much-talked about set at Treasure Island Festival two weekends ago. The Scottish electro-pop trio showed that they're maturing into a global big name act, worthy of bigger stages.
Silversun Pickups are the proverbial “band that sounds like all your other favorite classic alternative-rock bands” and they've got a new album in tow. Their 2006 album Carnavas, is a gift, with some of the most slept on hits of the last decade. English band Foals puts on an electrifying live set. Singer Yannis Philippakis, once scaled the rafters at Great American Music Hall and played his guitar from the balcony. I was sold.
As for blips on the lineup, let's start with Halsey, who's nothing more than sugar-coated-radio-ready pop fodder. Her single “New Americana” makes me wanna barf, but her debut album got to #2 on the Billboard charts and her marketing team has turned her into a global-pop sensation. Sigh. X-Ambassadors are a New York band whose folky pop rock is what drew me away from alternative radio many moons ago, but I did say this lineup has something for everyone, right?
In the end, the bright spots on the NSSN lineup are more than enough to overlook a band or two that doesn't hit. The lineup is reflective of why I insist on turning the dial to 105.3 whenever I hop in a Lyft. Oracle Arena is where it's at on December 11th and you can get in the house for under $40? Sure.