The Airborne Toxic Event (Literally) Climb the Walls During New York City Show
Nestled inconspicuously between New York City's West Side Highway and an unlikely row of car dealerships -- yes, in New York City! -- Terminal 5 is a venue you could be forgiven for failing to notice. And perhaps, just as inconspicuously, the Airborne Toxic Event came to town last night (Oct. 7) ready to unleash a solid mix of catchy songs from their growing catalog and some new tunes fans will no doubt soon find themselves loving.
The Airborne Toxic Event seamlessly straddle the line between striking, up-tempo songs and thoughtful ballads, but, on this night, they kept it fast, with nearly every song a fist-pumping anthem of speed and rock and roll. They've frequently performed with symphonies, but their high-voltage performance showed they can also be loud and fun.
The band took to the stage at a fashionably late 9:10PM and it was clear from the outset they would put the pedal to the metal and go full throttle, opening with a forceful and hard-driving 'Welcome to Your Wedding Day.' Amidst the flashing lights and frontman Mikel's Jollett's high energy, it was the perfect choice to get the evening started and a sign that the band would not let up for the nearly 90-minute set.
Jollett made sure the audience was part of the show all night, getting them to sing along with the evening's second number, 'Gasoline,' which saw Anna Bulbrook putting her well-known violin skills on display, a recurring theme throughout the show.
One of the night's most memorable moments came when Jollett, channeling the inner rock star that's anxious to burst out, jumped onto a speaker, walked along the railing to the balcony and hung there with one hand while performing 'Something New' before coming back down for 'Hell and Back.'
The band also treated fans to a pair of new songs -- 'California' and 'Wrong,' the latter of which is going to be their next single from their new album, due out early next year. Both tunes, which Airborne have been previewing while out on the road, could become staples at future shows. They are gorgeous and the best of what Airborne are -- soulful and introspective with hooks that stay with you, even as the band promises the new album will offer a change of direction.
'Wishing Well,' the first cut from the band's debut album, was flawless. In a night where Airborne let it all hang out, this was a somewhat restrained performance, building to a perfectly satisfying crescendo.
'Sometime Around Midnight,' the band's signature hit, got just about everybody singing along and set up the hauntingly mysterious 'All I Ever Wanted,' which, once again saw Bulbrook giving a clinic on the violin. While that seemed like a great song to end with, they kept going, choosing instead to close with the contagious 'All at Once' before coming back for an encore, during which they finally slowed it down with the somber 'The Graveyard Near the House' (Jollett, acoustic guitar in tow, and Bulbrook came onstage by themselves before the rest of the band joined them). That led to a rendition of the reflective 'Elizabeth' and the opportunity for Jollett and Bulbrook to separately wade into the thrilled crowd during 'Does This Mean You're Moving On?,' at which point Jollett did the 2014 thing and grabbed a fan's phone to take a selfie.
The set ended with a wonderful mashup of 'Missy' and a cover of Bruce Springsteen's 'I'm On Fire,' with Jollett smoothly leading the Boss' song into their own and bowing out on a high note.
While Jollett and Bulbrook commanded the lion's share of the attention, guitarist Stephen Chen and drummer Daren Taylor did the yeoman's work, effortlessly appearing to bring even more cohesion to a solid set, while new bassist Adrian Rodriguez proved he's more than capable of replacing Noah Harmon, who was fired from the band for undisclosed reasons earlier this year.
Before Airborne took the stage, In the Valley Below performed a set just shy of 30 minutes. Like Airborne, this duo of Jeffrey Jacob and Angela Gail hails from Los Angeles. Gail strode onto the stage in a flowing thin white dress and big floppy black hat, making it appear as if she was ready for Halloween. Wardrobe aside, In the Valley Below stormed quickly through their performance, with Gail's exquisite vocals and synthesizer work highlighting the moody, but pleasant set, accentuated by the beautiful 'Lover' and closed out by compelling performances of their most well-known songs, 'Peaches' and 'Neverminders.'
Check out a few of our favorite tweets from the show last night -- and check out both bands' setlists -- below:
The Airborne Toxic Event -- New York City's Terminal 5
The Airborne Toxic Event -- Setlist, Oct. 7, 2014
'Welcome to Your Wedding Day'
'Happiness Is Overrated'
'Hell and Back'
'The Winning Side'
'Sometime Around Midnight'
'All I Ever Wanted'
'All at Once'
'The Graveyard Near the House'
'Does This Mean You're Moving On?'
'Missy'/'I'm On Fire'
In the Valley Below -- Setlist, Oct. 7, 2014
'Searching for a Devil'