The Vic in Chicago opened its historic doors to welcome a plague of enthusiasm from California, known as The Airborne Toxic Event.
From the moment The Airborne Toxic Event took the stage, the electric personality of guitarist/vocalist Mikel Jollett was apparent as he jumped into action with “Welcome To Your Wedding Day.” Clapping hands and bounding around the stage, Jollett ignited the crowd’s enthusiasm, and set them up to enjoy a pulse pounding, lyrically driven smorgasbord of sound.
Some might say the band’s music is erratically melancholy, emo, and at times overly optimistic. They master the range of moods in their music by balancing the opposition with hooks that speak to a variety of backgrounds. Within their catalog, their diverse group of fans can all find a song to relate to. The Airborne Toxic Event has elements of the Cure, U2, Social Distortion, Blue October, and The Killers with a hint of bands like Anathema and Alcest. Alternative in nature, but with a pop kind of accessibility, The Airborne Toxic Event has the potential to get dangerously formulaic. However, The Airborne Toxic Event is exceptionally entertaining creating a wonderful wall of sound backed by a hypnotic light show.
During their set, choreographed lighting rigs placed next to the drum kit whirled around brilliantly. A spectacle of light and sound lit up the theater with purpose, bringing each song added power for the audience’s enjoyment.
While other members of the band seem to take a back seat to the enigmatic Jollett, violinist Anna Bulbrook stood out with her emotional solos. Bending backwards and forwards, her instrument and music was an added joy to an already incredible sound. The Airborne Toxic Event is an epic sound when heard live. They specialize in building panoramic melodies and finishing them off with a bang.
It’ll be interesting to see where the band heads in the next few years. Being in the California music scene, a lot of heavy expectations have been unfairly put on them. Hailed as the next big thing years ago, it seems The Airborne Toxic Event has taken it one step at a time while they find their own voice. So far, their audience is along for the ride with open arms and ears.
Catch them while you can before their Fall 2014 tour ends in early November.
The Airborne Toxic Event Set List:
Welcome To Your Wedding Day, Papillon, Gasoline, Changing, Happiness Is Overrated, This Losing, Hell and Back, Dope Machines, What’s in a Name, Numb, Wishing Well, Wrong, Sometime Around Midnight, All I Ever Wanted. Encore: The Graveyard Near The House, Timeless, All At Once.