It’s a tale as old as time, or at least as old as rock: when will women rockers finally be treated as their male counterparts?
At KROQ’s annual Almost Acoustic Christmas, 2018 seemed like we’re at least moving in that direction. While the acclaimed and historic Los Angeles radio station has attempted to input women into their summer and winter festival lineups (see Lorde, Lana Del Rey, and Bishop Briggs), they are usually played by exclusively by men. Which doesn’t necessarily speak to the station but rather its audience and their listening habits. In fact, at least year’s show, not a single woman act was listed.
Rock has always been synonymous as masculine interest. Despite the revolutions led by the likes of Kathleen Hanna, Debbie Harry, and Gwen Stefani, it’s still a rarity for women to dominate the genre specifically in the mainstream.
But at this year’s event, not only were there women on the bill but one even headlined night 2.
While night 1 could be viewed as the more “rockin'” night (played entirely by men), night 2 was more transcendent. When CHRVCHES took the stage midway through the night, the powerhouse that is contained in unsuspecting Lauren Mayberry set the tone for the rest of the evening which led into newcomer (and force of nature) Billie Eilish bringing the most excitement and energy of any performer. Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda’s solo turn was touching and inspiring, paying tribute to the late bandmate Chester Bennington, and also bringing K. Flay and Grandson on stage. Hot off their new mixtape and one of the biggest songs of the summer, Bastille continued to keep everyone on their feet even teasing some hints their new album (hopefully) out next year.
The night ended with the ethereal Florence and the Machine, who has zero problem captivating from start to finish. There’s something about Welch that can make the corniest of moments the most charming and even more so, make people leap out of their comfort zone just for an opportunity to feel an ounce of joy she does on stage.
What the women at this year’s Almost Acoustic showed was that not only were they more than capable to play alongside men, but in many ways they elevated them to finally step up and strive to be at their level.