(originally posted 8/7/2009)
I got to see the Airborne Toxic Event at the Cleveland House of Blues again. The last time I saw them they opened for the Fratellis on the same stage. The events were almost a year apart.
It was really neat to see how they’ve evolved over the past year.
Mikel (the lead singer) talks a lot less. His banter was incredibly self-depreciating and made him seem very vulnerable. I liked it, but I think it’s a strength (or maybe he was just tired and didn’t talk but still does at other shows) that maybe he doesn’t dismiss himself so. I’m always happy when the singer says something other than “Cleveland” (or, if you’re the bubblehead, Gwen Stefani, “Ohio”) or forces themselves to curse when it sounds so unnatural (Tom DeLonge saying the f word sounds like he’s reading it off a teleprompter).
Anna is much less shy about singing backup. She also, disappointingly, didn’t dance nearly as much. Her half-feral dancing was one of my favorite parts of their show last time around.
The show was solid. I saw Anna wipe out while she was trying to climb back onstage (after jumping off stage to play her violin out into the audience). The next day, a band tweet mentioned that other band members had also wiped out but I didn’t see, I was too busy dancing and singing along (plus, we were way up in an opera box watching the show, which, although it sounds really posh, kind of sucked. The best part of any show is being in the middle of the crowd dancing and getting pushed a little and feeling the bass drum beat against your chest. I’m a bit feral too).
The band was great. My only complaint was/is the audience. They were entirely too well-behaved. No one danced except for during “Sometime Around Midnight”. I understand that the reason the place was so packed is because the show was really cheap. Tickets (as part of a promotion through a local radio station) were $9.23 (although, two tickets, after stupid ticket fees still cost me $30.98). So, I’m sure many people said “Oh, that’s cheap and that one song is good, let’s go!” But their music is very dancible, very catchy (my husband and his friends described them as a little like the Killers. I love the Killers, but the similarities are very small), how can you just stand there like lumps when they’re playing. That must be the worst kind of audience to play for. Ugh!
I really love this band, I can’t wait to see how far they go. And I can’t wait to catch them the next time they come through Cleveland.