Although I have attended a handful of 93x sponsored events, nearly all of which I thoroughly enjoyed, I have not had the opportunity to attend past Nutcracker events. This means that, while I cannot speak to how this year’s event matched up to those in previous years, I can confidently say this one felt like it was going through a serious identity crisis.
As soon as I arrived, which was in the middle of a set-change, the music I heard blasting over the PA into an audience full of hard rock radio fans included popular Top 40 tracks from the likes of Lizzo, Drake, Anderson .Paak, and Megan Thee Stallion.
Of course, this is not out of character for events taking place at The Armory, or many events I attend in general. However, this being an event put on by one of the more prominent ROCK N’ ROLL stations in town, it felt very uncomfortable and led to many confused faces by those in attendance.
This odd and inappropriate choice of set-change music caused issues during the actual show as well. It completely killed all the momentum built during the bands’ performances, causing the entire show to feel choppy and drawn-out.
While I understand that when you have these sort of “showcase” holiday shows, which include performances from bands that may not typically perform together, it can be tough to make everything feel cohesive, this genuinely felt like four completely different shows that just happened to be going on in the same venue.
There were barely even any personalities from the radio station taking the stage in-between to promote sponsors or their individual shows, negating one of the biggest reasons radio stations put on these events in the first place!
Knowing what I know about how events are planned in this industry, it would be unfair for me to say this felt like they waited to start planning this thing until last week, but I think it’s legitimately fair to say some things were drastically overlooked during the process of putting on this event.
As for the actual performances, the only one I had any genuinely strong feeling toward was the 30-minute set by Canadian rock band The Glorious Sons. These guys absolutely nailed it on Saturday night, and might legitimately be the next-big-thing in the world of rock n’ roll. It was a pleasure to finally be able to see them perform, and I will certainly be on the lookout for bigger things coming from them in the near future.
Highly Suspect and 311 were pretty decent, although it was hard to accurately judge based on the lackluster feeling of the entire event. Attendees were barely moving around at all during the performances, and the entire night gave off a weird vibe like everyone felt like, if they showed too much excitement, their parents would pound on the door and tell them all to go back to sleep.
It was really fun to see 311 perform “Love Song,” which obviously tells you how much of a 311 fan I actually am. I have no shame in saying there were just a handful of songs by the two “headliners” I genuinely cared about, which is why I won’t judge these performances too harshly. In a different setting, where I can consume more alcohol without having to miss my next student loan payment, I’m sure they would be a blast to see again.
Everything that happened at this concert just felt forced in a way you totally expect a radio-sponsored Christmas-themed concert to feel. Hopefully, everyone who paid to be in attendance felt like they got a worthwhile night of music. That’s all that really matters. I’ll likely be sitting out the 2020 iteration of the Nutcracker event, though.