The last time I saw Airborne, they were tearing it up during an incendiary 45-minute set at Boston Calling.

The last time I saw Airborne, they were tearing it up during an incendiary 45-minute set at Boston Calling.

Consider this a continuation of my flakey attempt to see what my L.A. bands have been up to lately. I started this exercise in earnest at the end of last year with Black Hi-lighter, went boldly into the new year with Summer Darling and Sea Wolf, and then promptly fell off the face of the earth. Chalk it up to 2014’s strange beginnings, a curious job situation and the on again, off again polar vortex. Call it what you will.

I’m back now to have a look at what The Airborne Toxic Event have been up to recently. By recently, I mean since last October, when they finished off with 13 European shows, marking the end of the “on again, off again” tour to support the brilliant Such Hot Blood. So what have they been up to? Uh, not a whole lot. Or I should say, not a whole lot that they’ve been talking about. One can extrapolate, however, from various sources. Their single “Hell and Back”, from the Dallas Buyer’s Club soundtrack album, has been doing really well, in the top 20 of Billboard’s “Alternative National Airplay” chart for 13 weeks now. Mikel Jollett has been all but invisible, save for a cryptic tweet every two or three weeks. There’s been a virtual “radio silence” from the rest of the band, except for Anna Bulbrook doing a few side projects, setting up her own studio, picking up some new musical skills and tweeting about her canine roommate, io. All signs point to a pre-recording scenario (writing, collaborating, arranging), and sure enough, a recent tweet from Anna announced a vague “listening session with Mikel Jollett,” so I guess that’s probably right.

Proud papa-to-be Noah Harmon and new Airborne bassist Ashley Dzerigian.

Proud papa-to-be Noah Harmon and new Airborne bassist Ashley Dzerigian.

*** NEWS FLASH 2/5 *** – It has just been announced that due to unforeseen circumstances, Ashley will be unable to join Airborne on this brief February tour, so their buddy Adrian Rodriguez will be joining them instead. Adrian performs live with L.A. artist Hanni El Khatib.

The one piece of news the fans did get was one they weren’t anticipating. Noah Harmon and his wife are expecting their first child! This of course would make a worldwide tour impossible, and in fact, he’s taking a break from the band to attend to family matters and prepare for fatherhood (if one can even do that). Ashley Dzerigian is stepping in for Noah temporarily on bass, and she’s already performed with the band at a charity show in Vancouver.

Ashley [nope, Adrian Rodriguez – see above] will also be joining Airborne for their February tour in the South and Midwest. Huh? Well yes, it’s a little odd, especially after just five shows in the past 3-1/2 months, to be playing ten shows in Florida, the South and the Midwest… and that’s it. My guess is that they scheduled these before the decision to focus on recording, while Noah is in Los Angeles “having a baby” and while “Hell and Back” is still fresh in people’s minds. There are three spring/summer festival appearances scheduled—Shaky Knees in Atlanta (which has the best lineup, imho), Firefly Festival in Dover, Delaware and Summerfest in Milwaukee. After that, who knows?

The band (with Ashley) did a last-minute appearance on Jimmy Kimmel recently, performing a rollicking version of “Hell and Back” and “Bride and Groom,” one of the highlights (perhaps even my personal favorite) from Such Hot Blood.

It’s been over a year now since those two jaw-dropping shows at Webster Hall in NYC, almost eight months since their stunning Summerstage appearance, and nine months and five months, respectively, since their last two Boston shows. If their East Coast fans have to wait until perhaps autumn to see them again, that would be a bummer, but I suppose they’d be forgiven if they previewed some new songs…

February Tour

Incredibly, for all but the Milwaukee show, tickets seem to still be available. Most of these are very small venues, so if you’re interested, jump on this immediately.

2/5 St. Petersburg, FL – State Theatre TIX
2/6 Orlando, FL – The Social TIX
2/7 Athens, GA – 40 Watt Club TIX
2/8 New Orleans, LA – Civic Theatre TIX
2/10 Nashville, TN – Exit In TIX
2/11 Tulsa, OK – The Vanguard TIX
2/12 St. Louis, MO – The Pageant TIX
2/13 Chicago, IL – Cubby Bear FREE RADIO SHOW
2/14 Detroit, MI – The Fillmore TIX
2/15 Milwaukee, WI – The Rave SOLD OUT

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