screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

The Airborne Toxic Event, The Henry Clay People & Red Cortez at Webster Hall, NYC, Oct. 16, 2009

by Andrew Koskie, guest blogger

It’s October 16. I wake up for work and notice it is snowing. Not knowing how to react, I can only think of one possible thing… I am going to see The Airborne Toxic Event for the second time in a week tonight! I go to work, which couldn’t have gone any slower. Noon finally hits and I leave work.


Fast-forward 4 hours: We are the first in line outside Webster Hall. It is cold, but not snowing like it was in PA. Steven walks outside, and immediately notices us and comes over to chat. He mentions that they are going to change things up a bit tonight! We couldn’t be more excited. About 30 minutes later, Daren walks out. We say hi to him, but he is in a hurry to go pick up his shirt from the drycleaners.

They finally let us in, without any type of security check. Man I wish I would have brought a video camera. Red Cortez is first to come out, but act like the party has already started. They play the same set list from last weeks show, but I didn’t care because of the great music they play. About mid set the guitarist picks up his beer, takes a small sip, then flings the rest of it onto the crowd. I felt sorry for those people at the time, but this became the theme of the night and it seemed as if it was raining alcohol in the theater by the end of the night.

The Henry Clay People were up next, and didn’t waste any time setting up. No shoe kicking tonight though, as the stage was already wet from beer spilled by Red Cortez. Andy is running around the stage, and ends up on top of the keyboardists stool, about 5 ft in the air. The two brothers take turns hitting drum symbols, one hit which looked like it hurt pretty bad. At a point in their set Joey smacks the end of his guitar off of a symbol, kind of like an 80’s hair band. Before the last song, Joey mentions that they were recording a music video after the show, and gave an address of where fans could go to be in it. We would have gone but the 3.5 hr ride home was calling us. Not to mention I had to be at work at 9 am. No cover from T-Rex tonight, as Joey jokes with the crowd and says they cant play the same song two nights in a row. Instead, they do an energetic cover of All the Young Dudes from Mott the Hoople. They finish their set off with a toast, and walk off. Empty bottles and anything imaginable is being thrown around.

The lights dim, and the crowd goes crazy! Before you know it Daren is up on his throne banging away at the drums. The bass is so loud that a bottle of water that is sitting on the stage is knocked over. I’m not sure if it was because of the loud thumping or the sheer excitement of seeing the best band in the world, but the hair on my arms was standing on end. The first four songs are the same, then they play an oldie but goodie “Girls in Their Summer Dresses.” After three more songs, they then move into the acoustic part of the set. I knew this was going to be good due to the fact that I had a microphone in front of my face for the whole first part of the set! Mikel sits on the stage right in front of us, and notices Matt, and shakes his hand. He then mentions a new song, and not knowing if it was going to work or not, but they were going to give it a try. Anna is standing behind Mikel, playing her viola and singing backup. The song is amazing. I couldn’t find a name for it, and from what I could tell the band hadn’t either, as it was listed as “untitled” on the set list. “Wishing Well” followed, but I did not record this one. I’m soo sorry Mikel for forcing my camera in your face for the whole song. I never record shows due to the fact that I paid money, and the people on YouTube didn’t. It’s something you have to experience for yourself. It was a special request from Julie because she was unable to attend the show. [and I think this worked out very well, don’t you? I got my close-up video of Mikel singing this lovely song, and you were the obnoxious jerk with the camera in his face… – J]

Following the acoustic set a man yelled that he wanted his $20 worth, thinking that the show was over. The comment was ignored, and shortly after came “Sometime Around Midnight.” During one of the next songs Mikel walked over and grabbed Noah’s beer, and proceeded to drink almost all of it. Two seconds later the sound guy runs out on stage with a fresh beer and gives it to Mikel! Oh the small details you notice when you are standing in the front! (Not to mention the fake dog poop that is on Mikel’s pedal board!) The final song they play is “Innocence.” It ends with Anna, Noah and Mikel standing on top of the monitors, and jumping to the ground.


They run off stage, and of course you know more is coming when the sound guys come out and tune and wipe off guitars. Daren is the first back out, holding a drink in both hands. He makes a toast and finishes one drink, then climbs the steps to his drums, and places his other drink in a cup holder on one of his cymbal stands! He begins to play, and almost the same as the beginning of the set, they layer on top of each other until the chords for “Happiness is Overrated” merge. The crowd sings the opening lyrics, then Mikel pauses, and says that we were much better than Denver. “I’m just saying, you guys are better than Denver. Fuck Denver! I just wanted to say fuck Denver!” [hopefully he never forgets where they’re playing – J] For the first time I witnessed Steven singing. He poked over Noah’s shoulder and was helping to sing the chorus. The next song was up, and Mikel invites everyone out to the stage. This is where everything goes crazy!

It could have been the fact that that they were covering “People Who Died”, or possibly because there were about 20 people on stage, or maybe it was because they had been drinking the whole night… Things went haywire. Bass drums and beer, bottles, tambourines, earrings, bodies, guitars and whiskey covered the stage. Alcohol was everywhere, the crowd was out of control, the floor felt like it was going to cave in, everyone was pushing to the front, and from the looks of it Mikel felt it would be safer in the crowd.. I don’t think anywhere was safe. At some point Anna came over and gave me a high five, and then held her drink above me and began to pour. Looks like my wool coat needs to go to the drycleaners, but who cares? Jamison (or what the crowd thought was Jamison) was thrown everywhere. Joey from HCP almost fell off the stage, but we were there to save him from death. The end of the lyrics came, and everyone on stage was jumping up and down. The dust finally settled, and everything was soaked, as well as empty bottles on stage.



Everyone thought this was the end of the show, but to their surprise, TATE was going to play one more. You could tell that during the first few lines that they were still exhausted from the previous chaos. It ended up just as energetic as “People Who Died”, with Anna laying on top of one of the monitors, and Noah and Mikel on top of the other one. Mikel thanks the crowd, calls out the guy who made the comment about getting his moneys worth “for the guy who wanted his $20 worth, meet me outside after the show”. He says the guy standing at the bar bought tickets to the wrong show; they should have gone to see Coldplay. Calls me the dude who records all the videos for YouTube, and then finishes the song! What a show!


We stuck around afterwards for a little bit hoping they would come back out. We picked up a set list, and begged Blake the sound man for the empty bottle of Jamison. They never came back out, but after the stunts they pulled it was probably a good thing. We wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt! We got the bottle signed by some of the HCP as well as Red Cortez. They told us how they drank it all before the cover, then filled it up with water to bring out on stage. “Mikel asked if he could have some on stage.. I just looked at him and said if you want to I guess. He took a sip and realized it was water and began throwing it around.”

The Henry Clay People doing pushups after the show!

The Henry Clay People doing pushups after the show!

We left NYC around 11:30, and got home around 2:30 am. Work the next day was soooooo much fun! Thanks to Red Cortez, The Henry Clay People, and The Airborne Toxic Event for an amazing night! I am looking forward to the next time we meet!

Does This Mean your Moving On
Magic Moment
Echo Park
Girls in Their Summer Dresses
This is Nowhere

Wishing Well

Sometime Around Midnight
Goodbye Horses
All I Ever Wanted

Happiness is Overrated
People Who Died

share this: Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail


The Airborne Toxic Event, The Henry Clay People, and Red Cortez at Webster Hall, New York City, NY, October 15, 2009


Spaceland @ Northern Lights: The Airborne Toxic Event, The Henry Clay People, Red Cortez, and The Parson Red Heads – Oct. 17, 2009

1 Comment

  1. I saw this show the night before. It was a great show – all three bands kicked ass!!!

    I wrote about the show on my blog as well – checke it out and compare notes.

    Frank Grimaldi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén