I'm working on getting the readers in other parts of the world involved in all these reviews, but it seems for now, the NY and LA readers kind of have a lock. This is the latest, and is one of the ones I was most excited to read about because I love The Airborne Toxic Event. If you are in LA, they are going to be at Spaceland next week. Sold out, but, hey, someone will do a no show and I'm sure you can buy a ticket off someone. Our reader wanted some initials, and so, I bring you MI. No, not the state. Although, I will say that Michigan is a lovely place and really has pleasant weather this time of the year.
You know you’re going to have a good night when it starts with trannies. I made the right onto Ludlow after hopping off the F-train on E. Houston and walked right into a full-on tranny photo shoot. (I would have a picture for you guys, but you don’t interrupt trannies when they are doing their thing- especially trannies on the LES).
Got to the bar and grabbed the cheapest beer they had- Pabst Blue Ribbon. Pianos is a funky hipster bar on 158 Ludlow at Stanton. In case some of you are rusty on your hipster definition, I pulled the following from Urbandictionary.com, which pretty much sums it up:
“Listens to bands that you have never heard of. Has hairstyle that can only be described as "complicated." (Most likely achieved by a minimum of one week not washing it.) Probably tattooed. Maybe gay. Definitely cooler than you…Drinks Pabst Blue Ribbon. Often…Always denies being a hipster... Has friends and/or self cut hair. Dyes it frequently (black, white-blonde, etc. and until scalp bleeds). Has a closet full of clothing but usually wears same three things OVER AND OVER (most likely very tight black pants, scarf, and ironic tee-shirt)…Addicted to coffee, cigarettes (Parliaments, Camel Reds, Lucky Strikes, etc.), and possibly cocaine. Claims to be in a band. Rehearsals consist of choosing outfits for next show and drinking PBR. Always on the list. Majors or majored in art, writing, or queer studies. Name-drops. May go by "Penny Lane," "Eleanor Rigby," etc. when drunk. On PBR. Which is usually…”
Caption: The photo is a bit blurry b/c of hipsters trying to pass behind me (Hipsters become hostile when you come in between them and the seats/stage/PBR.)
Anyway, The Airborne Toxic Event is all indie rock and consists of Mikel (singer/songwriter/guitar), Steve (guitar/keyboard), Noah (bass), Daven (drums) and the gorgeous Anna (electric violin, keyboard, guitar) The band’s name is taken from a Don DeLillo book called “White Noise,” which ultimately explores the effects of an increasingly media-saturated and shallow culture. Mikel formed the band after experiencing a series of tragic events (i.e. his mom was diagnosed with cancer), much like the story’s protagonist, who is forced to confront his own mortality.
The Airborne Toxic Event is huge in LA and I can see why- Mikel’s voice totally reminds me of Talking Heads lead singer David Byrne- with it’s pure, raw emotion- while their music evokes The Cure, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and Strokes. On stage, they go totally loose, moving to the music the way most of us do only when we’re sure no one can see us. They hop, twist, shake and wail while the whole room moves with them.
Most of the crowd I spoke with had heard of the show via great reviews on LA blogs, not knowing that the LA Times has named them one of three bands to watch in 2008- totally deserved. If you’re on the West Coast you’ve probably heard a few of their tunes on the radio like “Does This Mean You’re Moving On?” and “Sometime Around Midnight.”
Turns out Kiefer Sutherland showed up at one of the band’s concerts in LA shortly after getting out of jail. According to multiple witnesses, Kiefer was on the dance floor all night- so wasted he probably doesn’t even remember them. He was still on the dance floor even after the music had stopped. Alexis Bledel has also caught a show or two.
The band’s album comes out on August 5th and if I didn’t steal all my music online, I’d totally line up to buy it. When The Airborne Toxic Event does blow up on the East Coast, which is inevitable, the hipster crowd will move on, but the rest of us will have a totally original 5-person band entirely deserving of their notoriety.
(Despite the molester stash, Daven’s really down-to-earth and funny.)