– Jeremy Larson, Radio.com
Live 105‘s Not So Silent Night kicked off last night (Dec. 6) at Oakland’s Oracle Center, marking the first half of the massive holiday festival. The top-shelf lineup for the first night featured Capital Cities, AFI, Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age, Vampire Weekend, and last but certainly not least, Kings of Leon. With an ultra stacked line-up, we decided to break it down for you and give you the top eight moments from day one. Look out tomorrow for the top moments from day 2, featuring Arcade Fire, Lorde, Phoenix, The Neighbourhood, Alt-J and Bastille, and if you’re not at the show, you can stream the webcast below starting at 5:30 p.m. PST!
8) Capital Cities’ blue-eyed soul and trumpet solos
Every act at Not So Silent Night brought something no one else could bring, but no one quite did it as unparalleled as Capital Cities’ smooth grooves and beaucoups trumpet solos. In the cool space between yacht rock and modern pop, they sounded like Hall & Oates meets Michael Franti and kept the party up the whole time. The band added some choralography with their own dance moves that to my complete surprise the audience in the front actually participated in (like a more basic Electric Slide, I think). And their trumpet player? Solo on every track.
7) The Bay Area welcomes home AFI like nothing has changed
Back in 1996, AFI played Live 105’s BFD Festival, years before their commercial success, fame, and the mall goth following. Their set sounded as heavy as playing a small punk club in the ’90s but still were able to fill the giant arena. With only a couple songs from their new album Burials, the band focused on hits from the early ’00s — right around the time when they really broke. David Lee Roth he is not, but damn if Davey Havok did not try. Incredible energy to their set.
6) Arctic Monkeys mix up rock and R&B, cover Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”
With their new album AM, the once-indie band Arctic Monkeys from the Sheffield, UK have stepped into much bigger dancing shoes. Alex Turner is all swag game Eddie Cochran with a strong widow’s peak, sharp suit jacket, and hips that never stopped shaking. The R&B undertones on the album really came out, and instead of playing for the scene kids in clubs, their new simplicity can fill out an arena. For a once acerbic band, who never really took themselves too seriously, they sounded like they’re moving up a tier. And during “Arabella,” they threw in a little cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” both a sniggering nod to the riff they jacked for the song, and a reminder that there’s still plenty of rock underneath their smooth new duds.
5) The 1-2-3 punch of Queens of the Stone Age’s opening songs
Woe the band who ever has to follow Queens of the Stone Age. They’re the loudest band that’s not fiddling around with noise pedals in tiny DIY clubs. All thanks to the huge desert sound Josh Homme has been culling for the past 17 years. With … Like Clockwork, the band moved into darker more ominously wicked directions, but there was not an ounce of creepiness to the opening of “Feel Good Hit of the Summer,” “No One Knows,” and their new single “My God is the Sun.” There were of course plenty of great heights reached in between, even if they blew the roof off the place in the first 12 minutes.
4) The bass line on Vampire Weekend’s “Holiday”
If you think “Holiday” is just a car commercial jingle, go back again and listen to Chris Baio’s bass line on it. It’s the proggiest thing this side of a Victor Wooten live album.
3) Ezra Koenig’s “Babar” Jean Jacket
You’re going to have to trust that Ezra’s jean jacket had a big green Babar on the back of it. A fan made it for him. I can barely deal with this:
I'm going to buy a Babar jacket. NOT a Barbour jacket, just a jean jacket w/ a big-ass Babar airbrushed on the back http://t.co/6Lvrb9RIbj—
Ezra Koenig (@arzE) May 04, 2013
2) The outlying subtleties and (kinda) brilliance of Kings of Leon’s “Closer”
One of the Followill brothers is singing into the pickups, while the other is messing around with a Line 6 pedal on his bass — all of sudden this big boot-wearing stadium band is looking like Radiohead. Whether you’re a singles-only KoL fan or a lifer, this is a song that should be mixed back into your daily rotation.
1) The sing-along to “Sex On Fire”
Look someone in the face and say “Your sex is on fire” without cracking a smile—you can’t. But get in an arena at 11:55 p.m. after a night of partying and music and those words — sung by thousands of other people at the top of their lungs — take on new meaning. Kings of Leon make the silliest five words ever assembled in a line sound like gospel. It’s safe to say, they’re the only band that can do that.