With the holiday season in full swing, music lovers got a much-needed break from crowded shopping malls and those pesky, unwelcomed guests known as stress and depression, on Dec. 8, 2016, when some of the hottest acts in the national and international music scene landed on the Golden 1 Center stage for Radio 94.7’s fourth annual Electric Christmas. The sold-out affair made good on its promise to both electrify and entertain, from the steady stream of bands that transitioned easily from the green room to the mainstage, to the techs manning the sound boards—who I must give mad props to for producing one of the best sounding shows I’ve been to in ages. The night was a dizzying combination of sights, sounds and grooves.
As fans poured into the building, the eager crowd was greeted by the pulsing beats of Sacramento’s own DJ Zephyr. The turntablist and hip-hop producer served as the one-man house band, playing between sets and keeping the audience in near-constant booty-shaking mode during the changeovers.
The evening started off with a super legit, sonic one-two-punch with some of Los Angeles’ finest—the indie rock quartet Warpaint dropped its dreamy brand of pop on the masses—and Los Angeles transplants, by way of New Zealand, The Naked and Famous, brought everyone to their feet with their high-energy, electro-indie vibe. When lead vocalist Alisa Xayalith launched into the track “Girls Like You,” and the audience went into full-on swoon mode, I knew we were all in for one hell of a show.
With each act adhering to the set times like clockwork (practically a rarity in the concert biz), by the time the English indie rock outfit Glass Animals strutted onto the stage with their brand of reggae-laced grooves, the crowd was fully amped to embrace the frenetic energy radiating from frontman Dave Bayley as he kicked off a pair of well-loved, brown leather Oxfords and proceeded to dance around the stage in a barefoot flurry of energy, launching into song after song from their wildly popular offerings Zaba and How to Be a Human Being, each track a layered symphony of electronic, auditory magic.
Rounding out the international acts was Milky Chance, who hail from Germany, and brought with them their masterful musical wizardry. Their method of blending house, traces of reggae and R&B with somber German folk influences was nothing short of mesmerizing. Lead vocalist Clemens Rehbein had the crowd ensnared in his web of melancholy, electronic beats as he and the band played a selection of musical offerings from their 2013 debut LP, Sadnecessary. Inexplicably, the downtempo vibe didn’t send the audience into one of the many the bars littered throughout the arena—a testament to Milky Chance’s infectious and transcendent beats.
The show closed on a high note when crowd-favorite and Grammy-nominated Capital Cities, typically a two-man outfit comprised of Ryan Merchant on vocals, keyboard and guitar and Sebu Simonian, also lending a hand on vocals and keyboards, brought onto the stage with them a full complement of live instruments—including Will Artpope on the trumpet, Justin Thomas mastering the jazz vibraphone and a classical guitarist to round out the dazzling live set. There’s something damn sexy about a horn section in a band and, as a sucker for a good, old-fashioned dance party, it was the perfect way to ring in the season—horns a-blazing! Nice work, 94.7, this was the perfect break from those long shopping lines.