Electric Touch, The Airborne Toxic Event, The Fratellis
at Roseland Ballroom, New York City, September 5, 2008
By 6:40 p.m. (20 minutes before the doors opened), there were already a few hundred people in line vying for choice “seats”. Obviously I’m quite out of the loop when it comes to Scottish indie bands. Most were Fratellis fans, of course, and I had no idea they had such a following. But of those I spoke to, it seems many knew of Airborne when they did some shows with the Fratellis a few months ago.
The Roseland Ballroom is what I think of as a “New York style club” – big, impersonal, cavernous, and with the requisite disco balls. One expects a venue like that to have abysmal sound quality, but it wasn’t so bad overall, save for some audio “snafus” at the start of ATE’s set.
First band up was the Electric Touch. Curiously from Texas (or so they said), but with British accents. They were really funny with their pretentious poses, though I’m fairly certain it wasn’t intentional. They were loud; I’ll give them that. During their set, a woman in front of me turned around and asked, “Is the next band better than this?” “Oh yes,” I replied. “Ohhhhh, yes.”
Airborne was next. Some people in the front cheered as they came out to set things up. Some were probably familiar with them from their last jaunt with the Fratellis. I’m sure there were others, like me, who had come primarily to see them.
At this point, a blow-by-blow description doesn’t seem to do justice to the near-religious experience of a live Airborne Toxic Event show. Their L.A. fans would know what I mean. Sensuous. Visceral. Majestic. Heart pounding. Soaring. Cascading. Life-affirming. Inspirational. Ethereal.
They did the songs from their debut album, plus “This Losing” – a lovely track (not on the album; hopefully on the next one!).
The hot and sweaty atmosphere (broken air conditioning) only served to raise the feverish energy even higher, prompting thoughts of Indian sweat lodges, Baptist revival meetings, whirling dervishes, and other such out-of-body experiences.
This was the first time I’ve heard the Fratellis, and they were really quite good. One way I assess the value of a band’s performance is by the reaction of the audience, and if there’s a real connection there. There certainly was, and I don’t think it was all due to hyperthermia. Sorry I can’t give a track listing or any specifics, but suffice it to say they sounded great, gave an energetic performance, and I’ll definitely check out their music so I can give a more intelligent review (hopefully) for the Boston show.share this: