Review: The Airborne Toxic Event at Power Plant Live

Posted: August 5, 2015 in Clamoring of the Crowd
Tags: , , , ,
The Airborne Toxic Event thrilled a sweaty crowd at Power Plant Live. Photo by Jamie.

The Airborne Toxic Event thrilled a sweaty crowd at Power Plant Live. Photo by Jamie.

By Jamie

If the mark of a good TATE show is sweat, this past Friday, just blocks from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor under a Blue Moon, this show was destined to be a good one. Sunny and humid, the sometimes unbearable heat chased the the hardcore fans that collected early under patio umbrellas and into shady corners. I showed up later than most at around 4:30, dripping with sweat from sitting in rush hour traffic without AC. Downing cold drinks immediately, we lamented about the heat, praying it would ease up as the sun set.

Our dedication (or maybe stupidity) was rewarded when we were able to sit in on The Airborne Toxic Event’s sound check, which took place under a covered outdoor plaza that is open to the public. Keeping a respectful distance, we formed a small, shy audience. People wandered in off the streets after hearing the music, asking who the band was. It was a 2-for-1; the band sound checking songs we ended up not hearing later in the evening. After they had finished up and cleared the stage, the crowd dispersed; some headed out for dinner or drinks while the more dedicated among us, myself included, made our way forward and staked our claim at the barrier.

Anna Bulbrook and her viola lit the night on fire. Photo by Jamie.

Anna Bulbrook and her viola lit the night on fire. Photo by Jamie.

Already over heated, the setting sun not offering the relief we had hoped for, we passed the time by having a little party of our own. I knew almost everyone on the barrier from previous shows and we quickly welcomed those not already part of the group into the family. Taking turns getting drinks and food, sharing stories and discussing favorite songs, we spent the next 2-3 hours forming friendships and anticipating the evening before us. Bonds formed over a mutual passion can be strong, however short lived they may be, and those bonds created a crowd that was rowdy and primed for the type of show I only know TATE to deliver.

After finally taking the stage to the roars of the faithful, the band opened with “All At Once” (my personal favorite opener). Following up quickly with “Wedding Day,” it was clear that the band planned to take advantage of the mix of dedicated fans and drunken party goers that the audience consisted of. “Numb,” “Wishing Well,” “Changing,” “Moving On” and “Hell and Back” came next, one after another with just short banter in between. The band appeared to be just as hot as the audience; dripping with sweat, their energy somehow never waned. They seemed to be enjoying themselves and it was only Mikel’s teasing of the less enthused concert goers towards the back (“It’s rock and roll, sir!”) that reminded me that perhaps the whole audience wasn’t as excited as the front third, even though it seemed to me we more than made up for it.

Steven Chen and his Airborne Toxic Event bandmates took to the stage under a rare blue moon. Photo by Jamie.

Steven Chen and his Airborne Toxic Event bandmates took to the stage under a rare blue moon. Photo by Jamie.

What followed was probably my favorite live performance of “One Time Thing” so far, Mikel dancing during the chorus and the crowd loudly singing “moonshine and cheap ass wine.” “What’s In a Name” was next and then “Happiness,” with an impressive singalong at the end, especially considering that a good portion of the audience had probably never heard the song before. “California,” the new cover “Pursuit of Happiness,” “Wrong,” “Midnight” and “All I Ever Wanted” rounded out the main set as we were given our first rest of the night. Saying it was hot is an understatement. We fanned ourselves, mimed passing out and passed around cold drinks as my friend said, “Well, at least none of us smell, right?” That’s always a plus.

“Gasoline” and “Missy”/“I’m on Fire” made a great encore to what was, from start to finish, a party.

I can’t tell you what made this show for me. The atmosphere was similar to last year’s Fillmore shows, equal parts band performance and crowd enthusiasm, most of us attending our first show since the late winter Dope Machines Tour. If you haven’t already, next time you’re at an Airborne show, turn to the person next to you and say hello. In my experience, TATE fans are good people.

Click here for the setlist.

Jamie: A Strange, Strange GirlJamie spends most of her days with her husband as they attempt to raise 4 future TATE fans and all around decent human beings. In her free time, when not obsessively listening to her favorite bands and going to concerts, she is also an aspiring seamstress. She writes about her handmade wardrobe on her blog Such a Strange Girl, and is a regular contributor to This Is Nowhere.

  1. Susan S. says:

    Jamie, I was so excited to be there, I didn’t even notice the heat!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. StanS says:

    Jamie, great review of a really fun time. Unlike Susan, I DID notice the heat but it didn’t take away from the good time. The pre show sound check was cool. Funny how we all stood back from stage. And as usual, it’s alway great to meet new TATE fans. I’m looking forward to the next show we can get to, whenever and wherever that may be.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely write-up and pics, Jamie! Wish I could have been there, but this is the next best thing. Hope to catch you at the next TATE show!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. kristintc says:

    I totally agree, Jamie. It was such a good, strangely intimate show. I brought a friend who had never heard TATE before and she had a good time and I think would come again. The heat didn’t bother me really. The only time that it was a little much was when a few dudes who appeared to be drunk and a little overzealous made their way to the front and were doing quite a lot of jumping even when others weren’t and there was really no where to go to give them more space. Overall though, it was awesome and I’m looking forward to seeing them again soon in Philly and NYC.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Myles Hillary says:

      When the drunk one with the hat plowed to the front with his friend I thought he’d be more trouble than he actually turned out to be. Overall, it was a powerhouse show at the Power plant.

      Liked by 1 person

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