Monday, March 09, 2009

The Airborne Toxic Event @ Bowery Ballroom

The Airborne Toxic Event; Alberta Cross; Henry Clay People
@ Bowery Ballroom
New York, NY - March 8, 2009

13 months ago the Airborne Toxic Event opened up a Wednesday night at Pianos. The Annex, another Pianos gig, two Carson Daly appearances, a Conan appearance, a Mercury Lounge headlining gig, and a Letterman appearance later...and they sold out a headlining show at the Bowery Ballroom on a Sunday night (and another to come on Wednesday). This amazing stratospheric rise through the hip ranks of contemporary rock shows no signs of stopping and with good reason: the inherent magic in Mikel Jolet's compositions, animated and magnified by his four ubertalented friends, appear to be ready to stand the test of time AKA the fickle world of popular music.
It was a sight to behold as hundreds of people sang along, went nuts, and jumped on stage to dance to music that the vast majority of whom did not even know about a year ago. It was even more of a sight - and a sonic revelation - to watch and hear the Airborne Toxic Event change the tempo and even melodic flows of many of their songs - and succeed at sustaining the dramatic momentum of those Jolet-penned insta-classics. Presumably the band changed them up to adjust to Mikel's recent laryngitis. If it's because they are already tired of their initial catalog of music...that could be a problem. But one step at a time.
The crux of the night, the epicenter of the grandiosity, the great contextual moment: In the opening build-up to "Happiness is Overrated", Mikel sang a couple lines of "Stuck Between Stations". Yep. That Song By You Know Who. And there you go, a little bit of solidarity in this crazy world. And why not? Craig likes to sing of "White Noise", a phrase the Airborne Toxic Event has purposefully acquainted itself with in its own genesis. But this is far from white noise. It is at the least a reminder that there is a bevy of quality rock music out there. It is at the most, one great colossal band of The Now and hopefully the future.

Alberta Cross are a throwback to 70's post-psychedelic jam arena rock. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Henry Clay People are two nerd brothers with a couple of pals who play tried and true odes to classic rock. Channeling alt country rockers as well as the Ramones, these historically attuned Los Angelinos made for very fun openers. No fuss, no muss, just happy rock n' roll and you couldn't ask for more. Not bad for a NYC debut either.

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