The Airborne Toxic Event take the stage Tuesday at Anthology
Name your favorite writer. Bet you didn’t say Don DeLillo. Now ask that same question to Mikel Jollett and he would probably say DeLillo considering his band is named after the metaphorical device in DeLillo’ 1985 novel, White Noise. In the book, a chemical spill from a railcar releases a poisonous cloud, and is dubbed by the military as an “airborne toxic event.” Jump 21 years—and countless rave reviews later—and you have the birth of the Los Angeles indie rock outfit, The Airborne Toxic Event.
With the combination of strings, keyboards, and the standard rock lineup, the band has yet to be called anything close to standard. The LA Times said they “make poetry you can dance to,” Q Magazine related them to Springsteen, and they were in Rolling Stone’s “Top 25 Bands on MySpace” and breaking the band back in April of this year. But holding up the praise train, you get a sense of a true organic start for this L.A. ensemble.
Back in March of 2006, lead singer Mikel Jollett was writing a novel when his mother was diagnosed with cancer; he broke up with a girlfriend, and developed two different cosmetic conditions: Alopecia areata and Vitiligo. He switched up his writing style and realized he was writing an album, not a novel. Insert a best friend, two classically trained musicians and a mistaken keyboardist, and you have made The Airborne Toxic Event.
After playing a residency gig at the popular Silver Lake venue Spaceland, many L.A.-based radio stations added their hit song, “Sometime Around Midnight,” to their full rotations without the band even being signed. In April of 2008, the band was being flooded by major labels all wanting to sign them, yet the band opted out of all of them and went with indie imprint Majordomo Records. Four months later, they had a charted album on Billboard at #188 and an even more impressive #35 UK chart album, which eventually led to them signing to a major, Island Records.
Performing live on Carson Daly, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, and Letterman’s late night menagerie is just a small amount of what they have accomplished in the last year. Supporting such bands as Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs, Silversun Pickups, and most recently, Razorlight, has gotten them the cred of playing such festivals as T in the Park in Scotland, Sasquatch! in Washington, and Coachella in California. But no matter where they play, their live show is always one to be talked about.
They continue their conquer most of the known world with a tour that is heading around the U.S., over to Europe, invading Asia, back to the U.S., back to Europe, back to the U.S. (again), and then over to the U.K., all in a matter of five months. But it all starts here in San Diego. Part of the Sophie 103.7 Lounge Series, the band will take the stage on June 16 at what is quickly becoming one of the best venues in town, Anthology.
The Airborne Toxic Event may represent a bad thing in literature, but in the music world, they represent everything else.
The Airborne Toxic Event
Tuesday, June 16
Doors – 9:30 p.m.
Show – 10:30 p.m.
Anthology – San Diego
1337 India Street