The Airborne Toxic Event returns to the Fillmore
By Jackie Charniga and April Slusser
Editor in Chief and Staff Writer
Walking into The Fillmore on Woodward Avenue in Detroit is like walking back in time. With ornate wall fixtures, red velvet seating, and even two gold-painted suits of armor—swords and all—flanking the stage, you wouldn’t think that this was the venue for small rock shows.
Fans await for the lights to dim and for the much anticipated, yet understated, appearance of the The Airborne Toxic Event (TATE).
Emerging in a denim vest, black button-down, and black pants, lead singer Mikel Jollett goes straight for the keyboard as the opening chords of “Wishing Well” rise above the sound of the crowd. This is quickly followed by “Numb,” during which Anna takes control of the keyboard. Her blonde hair brushing against the keys, she occasionally looks skyward with eyes closed and lips slightly parted.
Rounding off their third song, “Half of Something Else,” the bodies of fans begin to beat against the railing. “Sometime Around Midnight” opens next with a violin solo followed by the guttural sound of a guitar that lends itself to an image of a nervous man clearing his throat before approaching an ex.
Refreshingly unsentimental, Jollett remarks upon the importance of being with the person that you want to spend the “precious little f****** amount of time with,” and encouraged the audience to “have a f*** of a time.”
“It’s ironic, being at an Airborne Toxic Event concert on Valentine’s Day,” Mikel said, between songs. “These are not really love songs. Well – they are …” he added, immediately launching into a song entitled “Happiness is Overrated.”
The band, hailing all the way from Los Feliz, CA, was formed in 2006 by lead vocalist Jollett and drummer Daren Taylor. Jollett, formerly an essayist, began seriously writing songs with an acoustic guitar following a week in March 2006 during which he underwent a break-up, learned his mother had been diagnosed with cancer, and was himself diagnosed with a genetic autoimmune disease that led to the development of two cosmetic conditions. They were later joined by bassist Noah Harmon, guitarist Steven Chen, and violist Anna Bulbrook.
Since 2006, TATE released three full length studio albums; their self-titled premiere album released in 2008, “All At Once” (2011), and “Such Hot Blood” (2013), which features the song “Hell and Back” appearing in the Oscar-nominated film “Dallas Buyers Club” starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner.
Kristen C. Grace of Romulus met Jollett after the TATE concert at the Majestic Theatre last year. “He’s just a really cool sweet guy. The entire band is pretty down-to-earth,” she said.
Being a fan of TATE for several years, Grace described the different directions their music has been taking, “They’re not really that different than from the first time I saw them, but with the release of ‘Hell and Back’ they’ve opened up a new sound. Music should evolve like that.”
Based out of Ann Arbor, Sarah Karkoua started her company musicholics4u.com in April of 2011. While still attending Saline High School, Karkoua and 50 nationwide employees go to concerts to scout out new bands and report on talent. “Our readers really go for alternative bands, but punk is our main focus,” Karkoua said.
With over 3,000 hits per week, musicholics4u.com has progressed to a reputable source for talent. “[The Airborne Toxic Event] is really up-and-coming. You can tell that they’re going somewhere,” Karkoua said.
Despite their dizzying fame and growing celebrity, TATE wait patiently after their performance to sign T-shirts and talk to their fans. When asked to provide comment for a college-run newspaper, Jollett stated, “College f******* sucks. Read books.”
For more information on The Airborne Toxic Event go to their website at http://www.theairbornetoxicevent.com