Airborne Toxic Event fizzled at the Commodore
written by Rea Raven
I arrived excited to see Airborne Toxic Event. I didn’t know much of their newer work, but I knew a lot of their older songs, and expected nothing less than an exciting show – which unfortunately was not the case.
The opening act In the Valley Below really sucked the life out of the crowd right from the beginning, which I believe really had a negative impact on the rest of the night. Their songs all sounded the same, with the same monotonous beat, as they stood in one spot and sang melancholy tunes one after the other. During their set, no one on stage moved or danced, and the entire band looked extremely lifeless. The crowd response was nearly the same – no energy, no feedback, no interest by the third or fourth song.
By the time Airborne Toxic Event came on,there was no saving the night despite efforts from frontman Mikel Jollett (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Steven Chen (guitar, keyboards), Adrián Rodríguez (electric bass, backing vocals), Daren Taylor (drums) and Anna Bulbrook (violin, keyboard, tambourine, backing vocals). As lively and energetic as the band was, it was just too late for the crowd.
Airborne Toxic Event’s second song Gasoline, happens to be my favourite. I thought they performed it excellently (they sounded just like the cd!) and they even amped up the pace to make it a lot more energetic. I must give them props for their consistency, but unfortunately the crowd was just not into it. Jollett put his microphone out to the audience to sing along, and received a measly response back, but kept the band’s own motivation up.
The band mixed it up with a great selection of old and new songs, and maintained their enthusiasm throughout the entire night. They sounded better than I had imagined. They really know how to use the entire stage and keep it interesting for the crowd, even if the crowd was unexcited.
Airborne Toxic Event didn’t do much talking with the audience, which was fine, but Jollett did make a crowd pleasing comment when he played an unheard, folk-like song and said “some people ask if we’re rock or electronic or folk, and to those people I say f*** you”, which got people laughing a little bit.
The crowd finally got excited during the band’s second to last song Sometime Around Midnight which may arguably be their most popular song. People finally started dancing and singing along, and it was as though a cloud had finally been lifted off of the audience. The band “ended” the night with All I Ever Wanted, which was an amazing song, and the crowd finally erupted in excitement.
I thought they may come back to play a song or two, but boy was I wrong! They came back out and entertained the crowd with not two, not three, but five songs. They did four acoustic songs, and one that wasn’t, and it was a spectacular finish. Jollett managed to drag out the last bit of the song in such suspense, that people were loving it.
As much as I enjoyed Airborne Toxic Event, as a whole I’d have to say the show was mediocre. The energy from the crowd just wasn’t there, and I feel like that’s due to their opening act. Airborne is definitely a crowd pleaser though, and I would recommend them to anyone who wants to go out and enjoy some lighthearted music!
written by Rea Raven