By Glen

Steven Chen and Anna Bulbrook of The Airborne Toxic Event perform in Costa Mesa, CA. Photo taken by TATE fan Ryan Macchione.

Steven Chen and Anna Bulbrook of The Airborne Toxic Event perform in Costa Mesa, CA. Photo taken by TATE fan Ryan Macchione.

As the band hits the road for a full slate of fall dates, this week’s Toxicity brings you news of TATE shows old and new.

The New: Closing the Books on Costa Mesa

The Airborne Toxic Event’s 903rd show, backed by the Pacific Symphony in Costa Mesa, CA, was by all accounts one to remember. The superlatives have been flowing since the moment they took their final bows and exited the stage.

As we mentioned previously, there’s a different type of energy about the symphony shows, which are more about creating a truly memorable musical experience than shaking (and climbing to) the rafters. Not that the fans were any less into it, according to Cornel Bonca:

The mood was buoyant if not quite as raucous as usual (no “Gasoline,” no “Papillon” or the punk version of “Kids Are Ready to Die”), but when you’ve got a fleet of violins and flutes behind you, better to highlight Anna Bulbrook’s gorgeous viola solos or Noah Harmon’s stand-up bass-bowing. They underscored the essential seriousness of Jollett’s recent songwriting, whose basic theme is learning to face yourself when death hits you–say it with me again–“in the gut, in the back, in the face.” But don’t say it like Airborne fans last Friday night, scream it, polite classical orchestra behind you or not.

Blogger and TATE fan Marcie Taylor was particularly impressed by the diverse crowd of music lovers brought together through the unique marriage of rock band and orchestra:

It was amazing to see the audience at the show – it was all ages, young hipsters, families with their children, older people singing along to every song. Executive Producer Steve Beazley who I had met by accident next to the stage said, “I bet many people watching today have never even seen an orchestra!” To which I replied, “I bet many of the orchestra-fans here have never seen a rock concert either.”

The Airborne Toxic Event with the Pacific Symphony.  Photo taken by TATE fan Ryan Macchione.

The Airborne Toxic Event with the Pacific Symphony. Photo taken by TATE fan Ryan Macchione.

The show also proved to be a goldmine for photographers. Friend of This Is Nowhere Ryan Macchione (known as Ryebread in the TATE forum) managed to snap a number of tremendous shots of both the show and his backstage experience, despite the fact that he only had his pocket camera with him. (Ryan has generously given permission for This Is Nowhere to use his photos on the blog, so you’ll be seeing more of his work in the future.) Meanwhile, Ryan Tuttle’s Costa Mesa gallery is also a must-see.

The Old: Two Vintage Shows Appear Online

For several years now, all I ever wanted was another live TATE DVD, this one featuring a full-on rock show to go along with the more musically sophisticated/subdued All I Ever Wanted film. Well, we may not have that DVD yet, but we may just have the next best thing with the recent appearance of not one but two DVD-quality, vintage Airborne shows online. (Can we use the word vintage in relation to a band that’s only been around 5-odd years?)

First to surface were 10 YouTube videos that together comprise the band’s 2009 SWSW performance at the Bat Bar in Austin, TX. If you haven’t checked these out already, we’ve created a virtual gig for you over on the setlist page for that show. It’s the next best thing to being there.

Almost immediately on the heels of that came the discovery of the availability of Airborne’s 2009 Koko (London) performance. This 15-song set can be purchased through Google Play, and can also be seen through Qello, a subscription-based music video service. Qello can be tried free of charge for a week, so it’s possible to view the show at no charge and then cancel your subscription – but be warned: after seeing this video once, you may find it nigh impossible to give up. Aside from featuring the entire debut album, the concert features the world premiere of All I Ever Wanted and an early rendition of A Letter to Georgia, both with some different instrumentation and lyrics than later versions. It also boasts the only crystal clear audio/video of Echo Park that I’ve ever come across. This is must-see viewing for every hardcore TATE fan.

One Tasty Kit: Daren Taylor cookie drum kit

Now here’s something you don’t see every day. TATE superfan and aspiring writer Susan Prunty (whose work has been previously featured on This Is Nowhere) has been known from time to time to display her passion for the band in cookie form. In fact, I was once the lucky recipient of a delicious batch of Airborne guitar picks, which my kids promptly devoured. She’s previously frosted Noah’s bass (which sounds dirtier than it is), and this week she turned her attention to the drummer, creating a truly awesome 3D cookie replica of Daren’s drum kit.

I know our mothers always told us never to play with our food, but that’s gotta be awfully tempting…

YouTube Gold:

For this week’s YouTube Gold, we’ll go back to the new and the old shows discussed above. First, from Costa Mesa, Sometime Around Midnight:


And next, from SXSW 2009, This Losing:


Glen is the founder and editor of This Is Nowhere. He’s grateful for an understanding wife and kids who indulge his silly compulsion to chase a band all over the Pacific Northwest (and occasionally beyond) every time the opportunity arises.

  1. jenlargent says:

    Glen – You rock my friend!!! 🙂


  2. Ryan Tuttle’s pics are fantabulous.

    And thanks for the shout-out!!!!

    thisisnowhere is amazing!


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