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Category: The Airborne Toxic Event Page 2 of 7

Night 2 of The Airborne Toxic Event @ Webster Hall, NYC

If night #1 was the formal unveiling of the new songs (with Island Records folks in attendance), the first show of 2013 and official “kick off” for the new album and tour, then night #2 of The Airborne Toxic Event in New York City was a goofy get-together with your buddies hanging out in an exceptionally large living room.

After Mikel made the mistake of announcing that this was “the good night,” the technical snafus began and kept coming, making for some off-the-cuff hilarity and loads of great fun. I’ll never stop loving the quirky personality of this band and the sheer joy they have in performing, to the point that even when something screwy happens that might throw someone else off their game, they seem to delight in those unexpected moments. Mikel, ever the showman, especially thrives in those situations. As he says, that’s what rock ‘n’ roll is all about; never really knowing what’s going to happen, where everything can completely go off the rails at any moment. That’s what makes the evening exciting and special. And it most certainly was.

The set list for tonight (more or less) was: All I Ever Wanted, The Secret, Numb, Changing, What’s In A Name, Gasoline, Does This Mean You’re Moving On?, Papillon, Wishing Well, Timeless, This Losing, Welcome To Your Wedding Day, Sometime Around Midnight, Innocence, All At Once // Happiness Is Overrated, Missy.

After a two-night high like that, I’m crashing pretty hard now, but there’s already been the promise of more tour dates being announced next week. Bring it on!

Thanks again to my friend citybug for the great videos.

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A Magical Evening with The Airborne Toxic Event in New York City


It was an incredibly powerful evening with old friends. I’m at a complete loss for words, so don’t expect this to be eloquent, but after a performance like that, I had to stay up and post something.

It’s been over a year since The Airborne Toxic Event played in New York, and from the emotional outpouring of all their fans, it was obvious they had been deeply missed. We witnessed a dramatic unveiling of four new songs from the upcoming album, Such Hot Blood, and there were massive chanting sing-a-longs of beloved favorites (that would be everything else). They opened with “All At Once,” then moved in to “Wishing Well,” and from there, it was a breathtaking, dizzying smorgasbord of the following, in no particular order (apologies if I missed anything): new songs – The Secret, Timeless, The Storm, What’s In A Name. And also… Half Of Something Else, The Graveyard Near The House, The Book Of Love, All I Ever Wanted (with the original lyrics), Gasoline, Sometime Around Midnight, Does This Mean You’re Moving On?, Happiness Is Overrated, Welcome To Your Wedding Day, Numb, Changing, and Missy bedecked in dazzling new clothes, with snippets of Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire,” Tom Petty’s “American Girl,” and a long cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In The USA.” Mind-blowing.

I will speak about the new songs when the album comes out and I do a proper review. Too much to process and absorb, and that takes some time. For now, let’s just say absolutely stunning, and there’s no doubt it’s going to be a HUGE year for them.

Here’s “Timeless,” filmed by my friend Charles (a.k.a. citybug). See his other videos on YouTube. Thanks for handling the filming duties, buddy!





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The Airborne Toxic Event and The Drowning Men: A Road Story

The Drowning Men at Terminal 5, NYC

The Drowning Men at Terminal 5, NYC

This isn’t a show review. Not exactly. It’s a story of heartfelt commitment to one’s craft, to strength and perseverance, and to the bonds of friendship. And by “friendship,” I don’t mean posting something witty on someone’s facebook page, but coming to their rescue in the middle of the night on some desolate highway after a hellish traffic accident, packing their gear into your trailer and managing to cram 19 people onto a tour bus.

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The Airborne Toxic Event Returns to the Orpheum Theatre Tonight!

Behold, Mikel Jollett’s Iggy Pop Moment with a then clueless Boston audience waiting for Franz Ferdinand at WFNX’s ‘Miracle on Tremont Street’ holiday concert back in December 2008. I’m assuming the reaction will be a little different when The Airborne Toxic Event takes to the stage of the Orpheum Theatre as headliners tonight.

A limited number of tickets are (I believe) still available at the door. Let’s sell this out! | Miracle on Tremont Street 2008 review

(from their last visit in May, at the House of Blues):

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The Airborne Toxic Event’s Fall Tour (and summer mini-tour starting Friday!)

This hot and hazy summer marks The Airborne Toxic Event‘s five-year anniversary of their existence, and this coming Saturday marks the third-year anniversary of my first time seeing them. Though I’ll actually be at the Newport Folk Festival this weekend, covering this legendary event for Ryan’s Smashing Life, my band has very thoughtfully put together a string of East Coast dates, so we can properly celebrate. What’s more, they’ve just announced a big autumn tour (Orpheum Theatre, Sat 11/19!) that will see them visiting many places, including – for their first time – Anchorage, Alaska. I mean, how could you not want to see them in a place called Bear Tooth Theatre?

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Pearls Before Swine: The Airborne Toxic Event (re)Visits Pianos and The Mercury Lounge (5/2-5/3/11)

The Mercury Lounge

It is an odd paradox. The Airborne Toxic Event’s audience is getting larger, the hardcore fans more rabid, so many are now singing their praises; and yet, people seem to be actually hearing them less.

At the tiny Pianos on NYC’s Lower East Side last Monday night, Mikel tried to joke about the situation – “Oh, I see the bar’s open… well, it wouldn’t be an Airborne show..”, but it had to suck for them. Eight days in to a 15-day-straight run of shows before a single day off, they were all visibly exhausted, and Mikel had observed a 24-hour “vocal silence” of no talking before the show, in order to preserve his voice. The setlist was drastically altered in favor of quieter ballads instead of vocal chord-straining all-out rockers, and that – along with sweet, sentimental introductions in between every song – should have made this an unusual and very special time for their most loyal fans. There were stories of the early days before Airborne – Mikel’s upstairs neighbor banging on the floor to get him to stop playing, and of previous band members saying “your band’s never going to make it.” Of dragging a broken amp down Ludlow Street, and thanking Pianos for “giving them a shot.” About their first single, “Girls In Their Summer Dresses,” and the tiny label that released it, Square Records. Of all the support they’ve received, the many letters, and the connection with their audience. It should have been an evening of beautiful music and shared experience. Except that the cast of Jersey Shore was in attendance that night.

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The Airborne Toxic Event: All At Once

The Airborne Toxic Event: All At Once – Out Today!
See the band live at the House of Blues, Wednesday, May 11 – buy tickets
~ For the abridged version of this article, please see Ryan’s Smashing Life ~

Growing Pains

My god, this is excruciating! I’ve been enjoying The Airborne Toxic Event since first listening to demo tracks in 2008, and followed their steady ascent, which for me began at a downtown Boston Irish bar for about 150 people. They released their wonderful debut album on Majordomo, and proceeded to tour for the next 2-1/2 years in support of it. That album grabbed hold of my ears and wouldn’t let go, yet I now find myself approaching their follow-up, nearly three years later, with a curious mix of anticipation and trepidation. Why? Because in that time, they signed with Island Records, amassed a large audience of “casual listeners” with their radio hit, “Sometime Around Midnight,” and spent 2010 in a fancy Hollywood studio with world-renown producer Dave Sardi (Band of Horses, The Walkmen, Oasis). It made me a little nervous. This is the first time I stumbled upon a band early on, and not 10 years after everyone else, so I’m new to this whole “grappling with success” thing. I’m not sure how the band is coping, but as for myself, not terribly well.

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“Changing”… into what, exactly?

After posting about two massive fatal earthquakes, I am now following up with thoughts about a rock band’s 3:49 video. How incredibly stupid and unimportant in comparison. Yet I’ve been meaning to weigh in on The Airborne Toxic Event‘s official video for their new song, “Changing”. After seeing comments from two L.A. bloggers who have had a profound effect on the music I’ve been listening to since 2008, and then the L.A. Times (all of whom were among the first to introduce this great band to Los Angeles locals, long before anyone else knew about them), I knew the time was now.

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The Airborne Toxic Event 2011 ~ Everything, All At Once


After a week of hellish transition from night worker to day, I’m finally back amongst the living, ready to enjoy life’s simple pleasures – dinners not in front of a computer screen, the occasional evening out to see a band, and the novelty of actually sleeping when it’s dark out. Meanwhile, The Airborne Toxic Event have been in a whirlwind of their own, revving up to introduce the world to their new album, All At Once.

Since first hearing Airborne’s music in January ’08, it’s been fascinating, exciting, humorous, and at times a little harrowing to follow their steady ascent from indie band lugging their own equipment into small clubs to international artists on a major label, 300,000+ sales of their debut album, and multitudes of fans crashing their site in a desperate clamor for presale tickets ( is down for the weekend as it gets moved to a larger server).

There’s all sorts of cool stuff going on. The Origins Tour will see them playing 5-night marathon residencies in London, L.A. and NYC, starting from the smallest venue played in that city steadily moving to the largest, with a “secret show” for those who purchased season passes to all four [sorry, those special passes are all gone, but you can still get tix for select individual shows.]. Then there’s the new album, All At Once, with an April 18 release in the UK and Europe, April 26 in the U.S. The Bombastic video series – acoustic versions of all 11 songs from the album – are being released once a week leading up to the release date, and will be included in a special deluxe CD/DVD version of the album (along with the official videos for “Changing” and “Numb”). To top it all off, they’ve embarked on an eclectic and ambitious “Song Of The Day” series for the entire year on the band’s twitter, courtesy of Mikel. Anna, not to be outdone, has started her own “Book of the Week”. Awesome. That should keep everyone busy for a little while.

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The Airborne Toxic Event’s New Single “Changing” & more on the way!

“The song was originally called “Something You Own.” It’s a song about conflict and resolution, resisting and accepting Change.” Read more…

The new album: All at Once (Island Def Jam), to be released on April 25th in Europe and April 26th in North America.

The tour: February residencies and shows in Europe – see full schedule. Additional dates to be announced February 15 on their official site – and I’ll post them here as well.

It’s all about learning to welcome change. Not just adapt, but a full embrace of the process of life and natural changes in our own lives, and in the lives of those we care about. Change is an integral part of living, but we are frightened by it. We cling to emotionally draining relationships and continue to play out time-worn destructive patterns and tape-loop responses. We hesitate to leave dead-end jobs, preferring to stay in our comfortable prisons. It takes an amazing amount of bravery to leave one’s comfort zone for the vast expanse of the unknown. To venture out on that unfamiliar road with a neutral mind, without preconceptions. With a child’s curiosity, let’s see what the rest of this year holds…

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