'Tis the season for several things and Christmas concerts are one of them! San Diego's top alternative radio station, 94.9, decided it was dire time to throw a holly, jolly holiday fest and debuted their Not So Silent Night at the renowned Del Mar Fairgrounds on Sunday, December 9th. Now, the Del Mar Fairgrounds plays host to the reggae-loving Summer Concert Series after the horse races and world-famous festivals such as KAABOO Del Mar and more! Why not add a holiday get-together for the sake of good music and merriment? Plus, the outside venue isn't all that uncomfortable in December, being stationed in the temperate climate of southern California.
Thirty Seconds To Mars was a marvelous end to an A-list musical evening.
With an introduction from 94.9 staff, AJR blew onto the stage with uncharted enthusiasm and energy. The three brothers that make up the band was backed by drums and keys although all players bounced around from station to station throughout the set. AJR is one of the most underrated alternative bands in the scene right now, deserving of a headlining spot shortly. The boys were so into their performance that the crowd couldn't help but be overpowered with their presence. Ending with "Netflix Trip", lead singer Jack Evan Met hopped on drums to outro with the theme song for television's The Office – the subject of the track. A powerful, indescribable performance by the Met brothers, to say the least. At this time, 94.9 staff took the stage once more to hype up the audience for Alice Merton, Ms. "No Roots" herself. Jumping onto the stage wearing a track suit and sparkly blue jacket, the alt-pop-folk star got personal with the assembled crowd, saying this was her first time in San Diego. She even played her latest single "Funny Business" for the first time live!
The 94.9 crew was far from done, as they came back onstage to welcome Elle King. Elle came out all smiles, launching into tracks from her latest album Shake The Spirit. Although she didn't perform anything from her premiere LP Love Stuff, the audience was more than thrilled to hear her recent work, including the radio hit "Shame". She even busted out a banjo! Backed by her "Brethren", Elle King lit up the night before the men of the hour entered to close it all down. That's right, Thirty Seconds To Mars, fronted by Oscar-winner and GRAMMY-nominee Jared Leto, was in the building and ready to bring the business. Leto graced the stage wearing a tassled silk kimono, ripped up gloves and too many colors to count. With hair billowing behind him as he twirled, Leto circled the stage again and again with drums placed off to the side at an angle, out of his tornado-like path. Bass guitar was hiding deep stage left as well, but all eyes were on Leto as his piercing gaze and dominant voice ricocheted through the place. Three songs in, giant balloons were released on the crowd, bopping and bumping amongst the heads of the enthralled audience members. Leto didn't skip a beat, weaving in between the few rogue balloons that bounced onstage. Halfway through the set, Leto called for kids and adults alike to join him onstage, allowing a good 25-30 people to sing and dance with him! Let it be known that Jared Leto is a majestic man; hands down, his stage presence leaves you in complete awe and amazement. Thirty Seconds To Mars was a marvelous end to an A-list musical evening.
As the night came to an end (an early end at that, being Sunday), it was clear that 94.9 had started a holiday tradition with many more years to come. The staff hinted that there will be a Year 2 NSSN and judging by the success of this year, Not So Silent Night will hopefully live on. Happy holidays to all who attended and may your 2019 be filled with rockin', rollin' jams.
Photography by Kristy Rose