Friday, June 13, 2008

Reader Review - Airborne Toxic Event

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.

The Airborne Toxic Event @ Pianos in NYC

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, 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.)


jw12 said...

Piano's is sooooo hip that I could never take more than 5 minutes in that place.

Anonymous said...

Is that the reader with the pedostache guy?

I'll have to look these guys up, haven't heard of them before. Mostly because I'm in flyover country. :)

Production Girl said...


My good friend works at Pianos.

Unknown said...

production girl-

sounds like your friend is a hipster

RagDoll said...

You're even cuter with your hair DOWN reader-babe!!!

Although, you might wanna spell it "molester stache" so we all know it's a mouSTACHE and not a "stash" of molester porn. The grammar policebitch is alive and living in my brains.....'scuze me while I jump off a ledge, LOL!!

Teresa said...

Never heard of this band either, as I am also in flyover country. Listened to two tracks on YouTube. I don't know why I'm attracted to this hipster, indie music shit. I'm blaming it on my impending midlife crisis. I think I will be this one.

J. said...

Great review!! Thanks, MI.

Moonmaid said...

I never heard of this band, but that review made me very nostalgic for my apartment one block over, where I used to live 20+ years ago. It was $350 a month, and you can't even rent a garage for that amount now in Manhattan!

It was a funky neighborhood back then, much more gentrified now. I do miss those days -

wenx said...


Thank you SO much for the review--I've been bonkers on their music for a good while now after stumbling over them on iTunes, and have been hoping they'd come a little farther south down the East Coast so that I could finally catch them live. I managed to get their EP off iTunes before they removed it, and have been listening to it constantly ever since. I'm very glad to hear their album comes out soon--I need more of their music, and a physical CD I can start handing to people and saying 'You gotta check this out!'

Taryn said...

I saw them play in Long Beach CA a few months back (March I think). They put on a GREAT show. I went with a friend who had never heard of them, he became a fan three songs in. I highly recommend checking them out


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