Thursday, August 15, 2013
THE AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT
Throughout the past few years it’s been hard to figure out the identity of the Airborne Toxic Event. The band skirts the line between mainstream and indie, between hard rock and alternative, between innovative and generic. While it’s easy to pass the group off as one that lacks personality, what they showed on Tuesday night is that to really understand the band, one must spend a night freaking out with them at the sold out Ogden Theatre.
Throughout the show, lead singer Mikel Jollett bounced around to fast guitar riffs and belted out in his deep, and at some points strained, voice to a cheering audience. Any critique of the band’s sound, which casually drifts into the mediocre, was made up for by a brilliant stage presence. Under a giant, arrow-pierced bird, Jollett never stopped running around. He was all over the stage — helping out on a drum interlude and appearing in the middle of the pit. He even jokingly strummed his guitarist’s guitar in the middle of a solo and started singing while sitting on the drum kit.
All antics aside, the Airborne Toxic Event also has an incredible amount of talent. From the tight guitar playing to mesmerizing violin skills, to the constant genre bending, the band was able to show its range. Most notably, the band showed its dynamics between the dark, feedback-heavy “Numb” and the romantic “Timeless.” They even opened their encore with an acoustic cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Book of Love” to keep the variety.
Some bands are made for radio. Other bands are made for the rock clubs. The Airborne Toxic Event showed Denver last night the right way to balance both. Even though the reverb-filled guitar and borderline monotone vocals can get lost in the mix of top 40 songs, an impressive live act counts for quite a bit.