Year after year, Live 105 spoils their fans by ringing in the holidays with annual event Not So Silent Night. This year was no different, with a line-up that included a stunning array of artists that spanned a multitude of rock genres, each accompanied by their own swarm of screaming, rambunctious fans.
Walk the Moon opened the first night with some solid dance-rock to warm up the crowd for the night to come; frontman Nicholas Petricca was even outfitted with antlers to welcome the holiday spirit. As the set drew to a close, the Oracle continued to fill with jiving concert-goers.
The last of the crowd trickled in by Future Islands. The band took the stage with their synthpop beats and the raw and captivating voice of Gerrit Welmers. Future Islands added another layer to the lively atmosphere that Walk the Moon set — Welmer danced interpretively to the music and invited crowd members to join “the wave.” Future Islands provided some solid transitions into their set, and closed with their signature song “Seasons.”
Next, Young the Giant were greeted with jubilant fans ready to groove to their catchy tunes. With no hesitation, the five-piece group opened with “Anagram;” the crowd was dancing in an instant. Their set grew progressively more intense, especially during “It’s About Time,” when lights of a multitude of colors flashed from every corner and a visual backdrop. This build up was softened when lead singer Sameer Gadhia dedicated “Cough Syrup” to his uncle — who had passed away that morning — to which the crowd responded with collective sympathy, then singing along to show their support.
Time was seemingly flying by at Not So Silent Night, as it was already halfway over, but Rise Against was packed with more than enough energy to bring everyone to their feet. They opened with their classic “Ready to Fall” — almost everyone knew the lyrics by heart. The vigor of the crowd was felt from all sides of the Oracle, and it was impossible to resist the urge to mosh. Frontman Tim McIlrath contributed to the craziness of the crowd, utilizing the whole stage and jumping to the floor to meet with the horde. This insanity did not cease until the set ended with “Savior.”
The crowd grew tiresome as the night went on; water seemed like a life-granting elixir and the mass of people was overwhelming, but regardless, everyone was ready fist pump to Fall Out Boy. Outfitted with a fedora and red dress shirt, Patrick Stump welcomed the audience and started their explosive set with “The Phoenix.” Their experience in show business was exemplified through their seamless transitions and effortless interaction with the crowd during songs.
Many of the songs struck the nostalgic chord with many of the older fans of Fall Out Boy; songs like “Sugar, We’re Going Down” and “Thnks fr th Mmrs” allowed guitarist Pete Wentz and Stump to command the crowd to sing and shout. The set that began with a bang ended with a blast as Fall Out Boy finished “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark.”
If the energy for Rise Against was high, the excitement for Linkin Park was practically uncontainable. Near the front of the mob, you could hear predictions of the setlist and conflict among fans who were either looking forward to their newer albums like The Hunting Party (2014) or older works from Hybrid Theory (2000).
Nonetheless, the anticipation built as DJ Joe Hahn preluded the set with his own solo and the rest of his bandmates joined him one-by-one. Linkin Park brought the works; visuals, stage effects, and elevated platforms proved their greatness for stage performance and music. The group played old classics like “In The End” and “Numb” to which the crowd was extremely receptive. To close the dynamic set and night, Linkin Park was joined by Tim Mcllrath of Rise Against to perform “Bleed It Out.”
Saturday evening took off with heartthrob Vance Joy, James Keogh, entering the stage to cries of “I love you Vance” by admirers at the front as he opened with “From Afar” off Dream Your Life Away (2014). His short set was well-received to say the least; the ukulele in his hit single “Riptide” was overpowered by voluntary vocal contributions from the crowd. The end of his six songs, the last being “Mess is Mine,” came all too soon for many.
Keogh’s powerful voice was backed by a small band, although his singular presence and charisma held the stage, shining when he performed “Georgia” on his own.
Spoon took to the stage second, with a completely different sound. The strong beat of their material was much more powerful but the younger crowd failed to appreciate the indie rockers from the ’90s. The penultimate song, “The Way We Get By“ from Kill The Moonlight (2002), managed to uplift audience members slightly, but judging by the crowd’s reaction they didn’t impress as much as other acts of the evening.
Cage the Elephant revived the mood and carried huge energy throughout their set; the majority of which lead singer Matt Schultz spent stage diving and crowd surfing. Despite his hyperactivity Cage The Elephant still managed to perform slower songs, emphasizing their versatility live. “Cigarette Daydreams” slowed the crowd down and, one would guess, was halfway through the setlist purely to give Shultz a break from all his jumping around.
Between Interpol and alt-J were some interesting similarities and stark contrasts. Bathed in red light, the former interacted very little with their audience — the crowd looked dull by Interpol’s opening “Say Hello to Angels,” but alt-J managed to gather more attention with “Hunger of The Pine” from This is all Yours (2014) as an intro.
On the whole, Interpol’s set was much moodier. With heavier bass and a darker tone they stayed fairly static onstage, moving significantly only for guitar solos whereas alt-J moved to get the crowd going, clapping along though “Something New,” a single from their Mercury Award-winning debut An Awesome Wave (2012).
With the stage set for headliners Imagine Dragons, the crowd began to swell and cries for frontman Dan Reynolds were audible. A large custom-made odakio drum took centerstage and the band began, as they usually do, with a deep intense drum jam before performing opening song “Fallen” from debut album Night Visions (2013).
Their set included hits “It’s Time” and “On Top of The World,” after which Reynolds praised all the other musicians that night, saying he felt “privileged to be able to share a stage [with them].” He thanked audience members several times for supporting live music and buying tickets: “This is what we enjoy doing, this is how we survive.” This humility was shown when he reached out to the audience to help him with the lyrics on their newest song “I Bet My Life” because he had woken up that day with a sore throat. They responded powerfully.
The band also took inspiration from the holiday season, performing an improvised mashup of several traditional, and several less traditional, Christmas songs: “Jingle Bells,” “Last Christmas” (WHAM!, 1986), “Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer,” and, unexpectedly, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” (The Tokens, 1961).
Friday was filled with an energetic group of artists from different eras: the older influential groups verified their longstanding prominence in the music industry while the newer groups demonstrated their talent and reason for destined stardom. Exhausted and dehydrated, everyone left night one like zombies, but it wasn’t enough to dampen the ceaseless chatter and acclaimed reviews.
Meanwhile, amid a talented lineup Saturday, Imagine Dragons and Alt-J really took the show as their own — hats off to LIVE 105 for casting them as headliners.
Article by Edfil Dulay, Helen Jue, and Luke Sheard
Photos by Edfil Dulay and Luke Sheard