Archive for the ‘A Little Less Profound’ Category

Mikel Jollett of The Airborne Toxic Event performs in Boston in the fall of 2014. Photo by Ayaz Asif Photography: https://www.facebook.com/AyazAsifPhotography.

Mikel Jollett of The Airborne Toxic Event performs in Boston in the fall of 2014. Photo by Ayaz Asif Photography: https://www.facebook.com/AyazAsifPhotography.

By Glen

I am a dreamer. 

Not so much in the daytime, where infinite possibility is so often drowned out by cold, hard reality, and fantastical notions of what-could-be are subsumed by the mundanities of what-actually-is.

However, in the dead of night, as my natural pessimism drifts away and the synapses of my brain are finally free to fire unencumbered by the constraints of responsibility, wild things happen.

My dreams are vivid. On any given night I’ll be cast as the lead in a multi-act film, with cameos from any number of unlikely characters from across my lifespan. Though some themes replay themselves repeatedly (at least once a week I find myself back in school, having completely forgotten about a critical assignment), from one sleep to the next there is no telling what twist the plot will take.

Sometimes the next morning I’ll try to describe it to my wife. Unfortunately, what seemed so clear and profound when my eyes were closed is now just barely, frustratingly out of reach. In that netherworld, the pieces – disparate as they may be – somehow fit together. But with the rising of the sun, they become a senseless jumble. As a non-dreamer, she has little patience for my confused attempts at retelling.

——————–

“The Thing About Dreams” is a unique entry in The Airborne Toxic Event canon, in more ways than one. It experiments with sounds that were previously foreign to the band, creating an evocative aural landscape that sounds very, well, dreamlike. Mikel Jollett, a natural baritone if there ever was one, pushes well past the presumed upper limits of his register to deliver a falsetto chorus that transports the listener beyond the atmosphere of TATE World, into another dimension entirely.

Perhaps most strikingly, the consummate storyteller abandons his usual straightforward narrative approach to songwriting in favor of dropping a series of disconnected thoughts; snatches of visions that lack a connecting thread, just as dreams are prone to jumping from one scene to the next with neither warning nor apparent purpose. The result is not just a song about dreams – it is a dream.

It leaves even the writer himself scratching his head wondering, “What is this thing I’ve created?”

I have no idea what the deal is with this song. I wrote it a year ago and never planned to put it on a record. I liked the Wurlitzer and the beat and that moment when the beat stopped and the piano came in.

Dreams don’t follow any sort of logical pattern (it’s more of an attempt by your brain to create something logical out of your spinning stream of unconscious emotions and images, short and long term memories — or so I’m told by the New York Times).

I had a recurring dream when I was kid about flying. I would be standing on the sidewalk with huge ears, like an elephant— and simply flap them and I’d be airborne. I remember thinking “Why do I keep forgetting that I can fly? This is so easy. I have to remember this when I wake up.” As if the only thing stopping me from flying in reality was a mental block I’d acquired from living too long on a planet that told me I couldn’t.

So many dreams are like that: memories of a time when you didn’t so thoroughly know the limitations that life imposes on you. That’s probably why they’re important. Because unlike flying, many of those limitations don’t actually exist.

This song was just a way to wave across the abyss to a memory of something that once made me feel limitless.

Jollett has said that the most important meaning to be found in any song is the one that is produced between the ears of any given listener. If that’s true of his more typical songs, which are thoroughly grounded in specific times and spaces and deal with real events that happened to real people, how much more so for this piece that by design defies definitive interpretation?

“The Thing About Dreams” entices the listener to swim about in their own consciousness, to grab bits and pieces of Jollett’s stream of thought and connect the invisible dots to their own lives.

With Jollett positing that many of life’s limitations may in fact be a mirage, it’s ironic that, for me, the points of strongest connection are those lines that jolt me back to reality.

The thing about love: it’s never enough. Circumstance changes and life’s always calling your bluff. Enough is enough.

And now I’ve said too much and I’m not giving up. I can’t carry the weight of this over-filled cup. I just close my eyes like you’re close to the touch and I dream: You’re not what you seem.

I have clung to these words like a lifeline this past year: a year of changing circumstances and over-filled cups, in which life has gotten scarier than any nightmare and I might well have gotten “Enough is enough” tattooed on my forehead.

When it all gets to be too much and that heavy cup seems on the verge of slipping from my hands, sometimes the only way out is to close my eyes and slide back into that world where things are not what they seem: where the present and the future can be rewritten however I see fit, and it all seems close enough to touch.

It’s a happy place.

Video by Monica Lara

GlenGlen 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.

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Mikel Jollett of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Ryan Macchione.

Mikel Jollett of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by Ryan Macchione.

As we were in the throes of writing our upcoming Toxic History chapter on The Airborne Toxic Event’s third album Such Hot Blood (watch for that next week), we were contacted by our friend Steven Fein. In 2013, just prior to the release of the album, Steve had a chance to sit down with Mikel Jollett to discuss the making of the record. Last year we published a portion of that conversation, in which the pair discussed Bruce Springsteen and his influence on Jollett’s writing. Now, in a This Is Nowhere exclusive, Steve has graciously given us the opportunity to publish more of the interview. 

Steve Fein: First of all, “Timeless” is just a fantastic song. But I read I think in an interview with Billboard where you said something like, “Don’t write like you’re an indie rock artist or an art rock band, don’t write like you’re trying to write an Airborne song that’s gonna be huge, just write what’s in your heart.” And when I read that I was like what the hell is he talking about, cause to me the song sounds quintessential you.

Mikel: I feel like it’s a little more hopeful than I would normally try to write. I think some of the earlier stuff like “Wishing Well” or something there’s a lot of like desperation. I mean I guess that’s how I was feeling. But there’s a lot of desperation, there’s a lot of actual darkness. A lot of references to like claustrophobia and drug use and things like that which is very different than “I hope I don’t die, and I hope that in the meantime I can spend my time with a true love,” or something.

S: I mean it sounded like part of almost a triple set with “All at Once” and “Graveyard,” because they also have that defiance in the face of death and connection with people being what—

M: Yeah, “All I Ever Wanted.” That’s true it’s definitely a motif I guess, isn’t it. I hadn’t thought about that. Well I had written the lyrics to that song about ten different times and I couldn’t find it. The song just, you know, a song presents itself to you. And sometimes it does it on the first try and you’re psyched. It’s like, “Yeah.” But that’s rare. Only a couple songs have ever done that. And then sometimes you just chase it. And “Wishing Well” I chased. “Midnight” I actually wrote all at once, in like a day or two. “All I Ever Wanted” I chased. “All at Once” I chased. Most songs I chase.

S: You had that great line about 25 years chasing a song.

M: Oh yeah, in “The Storm?” Yeah. It’s definitely been a motif. I think that the difference with this song is that it’s not just an acknowledgement of it, there’s a desire to just want to do something about it. And I don’t know why that’s true now, but that wasn’t what was in my… when I sat down to write, I was in Cincinnati and I was running across some bridge, cause I like to go running on tour just to get the fuck away from everything. And I was just like singing the song, cause I’ll just sing all day long in my head trying to get it down. And I was singing all these different lines, and I was like “She disappeared alone in the dark…” and I was like “Ah!” and I stopped, and I borrowed like a pen from someone and a piece of paper and I wrote down the opening line. And I knew once I wrote that line that the rest of the song would present itself. It was like, you gotta start with one true thing. Phillip Roth talks about this, he’ll write when he starts a novel he’ll write a hundred pages in like three months until something feels alive. And he’s just searching for something that’s alive. And then he’ll write one paragraph and that one paragraph is alive. And he goes “There’s my book.” In this one paragraph. And then you take that, and it may not be the first paragraph of the book, but that’s when the book presents itself, that’s when the story presents itself. And with that line, that’s when the whole song, I got it. And then it was just a matter of the craft of creating a song about that idea, which is a whole other thing. Like, songwriting craft is whole other discussion. But just having craft isn’t enough, cause you have to have your imagination captured by an idea large enough to write about.

S: In his VH1 Storytellers session, Bruce Springsteen told telling the story about “Does This Bus Stop on 82nd Street?” from his first album, and he said basically the exact same thing about it’s one line, and you know you have the song. And in that song it was, “Man the dopes that there’s still hope.” And the whole song was crafted around that line. So it’s interesting that you say that.

M: It would be interesting to kinda think about each song and think what was the one line when you knew. Like, “Bride and Groom” it was actually the opening line: “The city is haunted by the ghosts of failure.” That one made sense to me.

S: What I love about that song is the last part….. the writing of that song is just fantastic.

M: Thank you very much. That’s probably my favorite song I’ve ever written.

S: It’s amazing and you know when I first heard it, actually the back half of the album, the songs didn’t sound quite as loud and boisterous. It’s a different type.

M: Right, it’s a different type. I did that on purpose. It’s almost like there’s a hot side and a cool side like they used to have. The second half is like the hand clap and finger snap, orchestral, it’s a little quirkier. The song writing structure, the first half except for “Safe,” is pretty strict in its structure and the second half is just wide open.

S: Yeah, it’s just fantastic. And you know, playing around with the vocals with Anna. And to me, like “Elizabeth” when I first heard it, it’s like “Oh that’s sweet and clever,” but then I listened to it a couple times and I’m like “Oh my god!” like that last verse—

M: It’s a killer right?

S: That last verse is, oh my god.

M: And then it’s just over! And…

S: And that last line…

M: And that last line, is the gnarliest line on the entire record.

S: But it just sums up everything doesn’t it!

M: And then it just ends! It doesn’t even resolve, you know, cause it ends on the 5. It just hangs there. And I was like oh my god, that’s gotta be the last line.

S: Yeah, that last line just does it. And it seems like in a way it’s a response to the previous song “The Fifth Day.” You know, here’s what you learned that you have to say…maybe that the person couldn’t say.

M: I was also trying to break the tension. “The Fifth Day” is such a big, imagined song and I was hoping people would go on that journey with me. I mean we’ll see if they do or not, I’m not sure. Because it requires a certain commitment to the journey and what that song’s about which is sort of like the re-imagining of kind of sadness. Like the majesty of sadness, this whole second half. And there are the two voices at the start, and they’re both almost like two bubbles saying kind of the same thing but from different perspectives, and then the end is the kind of imagined dream-life that they share. And that song makes a lot of sense at like three in the morning. When I wrote that song actually there was a lot of time spent just blaring it at three in the morning. Like the whole neighborhood’s asleep and I’m pacing around my house with that song, I’m writing parts. I wrote that song over the course of a week. And that whole latter half just arranging it and just blaring it in the middle of the night. It makes sense, but I wasn’t sure if it would make sense in the day like if people hear it if they’d be like “What the fuck is this?”

S: At least for me it took two or three listens but it was so much more rewarding going through that journey. Is the wordless outro because it just sounded good to you or was it because it’s sort of a comment on the fact that you were saying earlier in the song “words don’t matter” or “you can’t find the words” or something along those lines?

M: Oh that’s interesting. I hadn’t thought of that. But that—”Yes”, let’s just go with “Yes.” I love that. No, but, maybe that’s how you know it’s honest. I didn’t have to mean it. I didn’t have to intend it. It just happened that way. The wordless outro was…something about this music spoke to me and it felt like you get these two characters and they’re so sad. And this song, it’s not bleak, like “Innocence” or something is, it’s just sad. They’re just sad. And then by the end there’s almost this childlike fascination of, you know, the majesty of their own sadness. You know what I mean? And I was really trying to go for that, bring that idea to life. Because it was definitely like a dreamscape.

S: It sounds to me also, though, that the person in the song is starting to gain some self-awareness by the end that he was lacking before, before that loss.

M: Yeah that’s interesting. This whole record is that I think.

S: Yeah! And that brings that last line from “Elizabeth” back. You know, you’re sort of guessing what love is, whether love is real.

M: Yeah, because you don’t know. You don’t really know what anything is. And you know the irony of writing all these songs about love and you’re not really sure you really know at all. I guess I was trying to break the tension a little bit too. That song’s a hair tongue-in-cheek. You know that line about being uptight for a Mexican girl. I love that line. And so I didn’t want it to be too serious. “The Fifth Day” it’s like this big song and by the end you’re just like weeping. I wanted there to be a little bit of light, light-heartedness. Even if that lightheartedness is still kind of gnarly.

S: Well yeah when it switches, these are all love songs and sometimes love makes you feel shitty. I just love that you know it turns like that in that last verse.

M: Thanks.

S: Anyway going back to the mortality kind of thing from “All at Once” and “Graveyard” and “Timeless,” I know that part of the origin story of the band and your week from hell where you sort of pumped some gas and were exposed to the toxic cloud. So that obviously was a seminal turning point, but did you think about that kind of stuff much before that at all?

M: Yeah for sure. I wrote a novel about it. I wrote two novels about it.

S: So do you feel when you do that that you’re gaining insight or that it’s cathartic or just you have to do it so you do it even if it doesn’t necessarily help you work things through…

M: Yeah I think writing, actually writing is more like that where it’s like you want to know what you think about something so you write about it, cause you have to organize your own thoughts. This is a little bit more like, yeah you’re estranged to yourself, and I guess there’s a reckoning there. Like are you asking what’s the impetus to write? And whether or not that’s like catharsis?

S: Well, yeah. That’s more the consequence of writing rather than just the impetus. I understand the impetus as in you just feel like you need to get this out and explore it. But does it help other than to get it out, in terms of gaining awareness or feeling like somehow you’re cheating death or anything along those lines?

M: Well a little bit of cheating death ’cause you’re creating something you hope someone will hear in 100 years and they’ll be like “Oh, I thought that. Alright.” And it’s like you’re winking at him, or waving to him from the grave like, “Hey guy, I thought this.” And the guy’s like “Hey, that guy’s dead but he thought this. Cool.” It’s sort of like, there’s a desire to communicate, because you’re really, really, really alone. And you don’t want to be so alone with your weird thoughts and your fucking weird, strange feelings that you have that you find weird. It’s not like I don’t find them weird too. I do.

And so then you write a song, and something about the idea of communicating, it’s a way of, without having to write a whole book, or without, or maybe even more intensely so, really getting your point across. And the desire to communicate that, is a desire to be less alone with it. And for someone else to hear it and hopefully relate to it and if they do, then it’s just—you’re just part of this big tragic comedy of life. You’re part of it and they’re part of it, and then it’s like okay, because you relate it, and then you’re like “Yeah!” and then something that felt so strange, and so isolating, and so weird suddenly becomes like “eh.” And that’s one of the great things about life is no matter what your trials are, no matter what you’re going through that seems so horrific in your own mind at 2 AM, you talk to someone about it, you communicate it out in the world. The idea of “The Secret,” like once the secret’s out, once it’s done, there’s a real freedom because then everyone kind of just goes “fuck it.”

And that’s one of the great things about mankind. It’s like propensity for violence, for hatred of others, hatred of ourselves, whatever. But then there’s such incredible desire for grace and for kindness and for acceptance or just to kind of commune. And I guess something about music is that, and that’s why I love playing shows, cause that sense of communing with others is kind of what you’re at at the moment of writing. And everything else in the middle is kind of horse shit, right? The production and the record and the marketing, all that bullshit. Like there’s a moment where you have the impetus to write, and then you write, cause you don’t want to be alone. And then there’s a moment where somebody hears it, and whatever goes on in their own heads, which is different from what’s in your head, and you have to respect that, happens. And there’s this yawning, fucking gulf between those two things, right? Of arrangements and production and producers and fucking Twitter and all this press and all the record labels and marketing and bookface and all this shit. And then on the other side of it somebody hearing it and something becomes sort of a light in their own mind, and those two moments are the important ones.

And the goal is to make all this stuff go away as much as possible so that there’s just this moment. And the place where that happens most purely and spontaneously is at a show, and that’s why I love playing shows. You look out in the crowd and everyone’s singing your song that you wrote because you didn’t want to be alone and you are literally not alone because they’re singing it too, and you know they had a moment with it, it may be different from your moment but that’s fine, you know you had a moment and you’re all there together. Sometimes I feel like you can see it from space, like we emanated some kind of light that in this room would be the brightest room in the whole world. Cause everybody’s emanating this light of sort of wanting to commune with one another and they’re caught up in the music, and I’m caught up in it too. And you can’t fake something like that. You can’t. Honesty just sounds different. I don’t know why that’s true, but it’s true. Honesty just sounds different so you can’t fake it. People know if you’re full of shit, people are way smarter than you think. Cause people want that moment of communion.

S: Yeah, maybe that’s part of why they call it concert, you know. There’s this union there.

M: I like that.

Steven Fein is a Williams College Professor of Psychology by day, published Springsteen writer by night.

The Bulls: Prudence

By Glen

In the wake of his passing, David Bowie has been heralded by many as perhaps the single most influential musician of our time. Perhaps it’s only fitting, then, that the release of the latest single by The Bulls (Anna Bulbrook, Marc Sallis) just happens to coincide with the legend’s exit, taking its place as the freshest entry on the seemingly endless list of Bowie-inspired works.

“I was just starting to figure out my voice by aping different male vocalists whom I loved,” says Bulbrook of her band’s latest effort, “Prudence.” “Believe it or not, this was written when I was singing along to David Bowie every day, listening to his voice and trying to channel the smallest scrap of his spirit. Turns out he is, was, and always will be a thousand percent inimitable. At least by me.”

While the Thin White Duke provided vocal guidance, Bulbrook looked closer to home for a lyrical spark. She found it in the form of a close friend.

“This song is about a real person named Prudence whom I love dearly and who always seems to be running both towards and away from the finer things in life at the same time,” she says.

“Prudence” would feel right at home on last fall’s dreamy Small Problems EP. Churning along on a hypnotic bassline underscoring Bulbrook’s clipped, to-the-point vocals, the song opens up into an airy chorus that melodically mirrors the care-free life sought by its protagonist.


The flip side is a cover of the Supergrass hit, “Alright.” The Bulls’ rendition finds the tempo turned down a notch, lending an unexpected gravitas to the experience. Those who are suckers for Bulbrook’s viola won’t be disappointed, as a whiny-in-a-good-way guitar line dissolves into the classically-trained musician’s more refined strings. The entire track has a weightier, more substantive feel than the sunny original, which should appeal to fans of The Bulls’ somber pop.

As we continue to await The Bulls’ in-progress debut album, “Prudence” and “Alright” give good cause for confidence that our patience will be repaid in full.

Purchase “Prudence” and “Alright” on iTunes

GlenGlen 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.

A TATE ChristmasBy Glen

‘Twas Sometime Around Midnight on Christmas, in the Graveyard Near the House,
TATE’s Facebook page was quiet – not a single synth-related grouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that some show dates soon would be there.

Clad in a tour shirt, I dozed in my bed,
While The Thing About Dreams played in my head.
I imagined myself wielding Anna’s viola,
Plucking the strings out ‘neath the pergola.

All At Once in the street there arose such a clatter,
The roar of a Dope Machine the silence did shatter.
In a stupor I stumbled down from the second floor,
Swaying, braying, I burst through the door.

It was a bleary-eyed night, beneath the streetlight,
I needed a moment to take in the sight.
And what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a poet, a singer, weighed down with gear.

The mermaid tattoo was an obvious tell,
I knew in a moment it must be Mikel.
Greedy for more, I was blinded by fame,
And I whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Daren! Now, Steven! Now, Adrian and Anna!
On, roadies! On, Pete Galli! And you too, Bill Handlin!
To the top of the stage! To the top of the wall!
Not so high please Mikel – I’m afraid you will fall!”

And then, in a twinkling, I came up with a plan,
Nervousness be damned – it was Time to be a Man.
“It is most unexpected to find you out here,
Like the surprise God and Whiskey you dropped on us this year.”

“We take care of our fans,” he said with a wink,
“You should know that by now, wouldn’t you think?
On The Fifth Day of Christmas, your True Love asked me,
To give you a gift you never thought you’d see.”

He was dressed all in black, from his head to his foot,
And into his guitar case, his hand he did put.
“What can I give you? Another masterpiece?
What more could you want after a double release?”

“All I Ever Wanted,” I slowly began,
“Was just one more gig for a crazed super fan.
Can you please play Poor Isaac? That song is so boss,
And if I may be so bold, how ’bout Something You Lost?”

He was cooler than cool; I was feeling unworthy,
My insides were Numb and I was getting too wordy.
But he put me at ease with a nod of his head,
He’s good with his fans; I had nothing to dread.

So I took a deep breath, “A request if I may,
A happy TATE song for the holidays?
A little less death, a little more joy,
Something appropriate for my little boy?”

He said, “Not my style; that music sounds dated,
And holiday cheer is so overrated.
I’ve tried to be sappy; I’ve tried to write kitsch,
But sometimes Christmas can make you feel like shit.”

He sprang to his bike, flashed his 7th Heaven smile,
And then he assured me, “We’ll be back in awhile.”
And I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Please don’t forget to Shazam TATE tonight!”

The Airborne Toxic Event at Denver's Not So Silent Night. Photo by Kristina.

The Airborne Toxic Event at Denver’s Not So Silent Night. Photo by Kristina.

By Glen

Heading into last night’s appearance by The Airborne Toxic Event at Denver’s Not So Silent Night, it seemed likely the gig would be a welcome but ultimately unremarkable blip in the midst of an extended break for the band. Dinner with some lucky fans before the show (a reward for winners of the band’s latest Shazam contest, which by all accounts was lovely), a brief middle-of-the-bill set (7 songs, as it turned out), and then they’d head back underground for awhile.

Instead, the group found itself at the center of a social media shit-storm after what many are calling the worst performance of their career.

I won’t go too far into the details – you can find them easily enough if you’re interested. It was clear to anyone watching (whether in house or online) that Mikel Jollett was way off his game. There were many factors in play, including a lack of time for a proper soundcheck, terrible technical difficulties, a sick lead singer (which he confirmed at the fan dinner) and, yes, alcohol. It was the perfect storm for a poor performance, and storm it did.

I recently wrote that, through my research for the Toxic History project, I have read hundreds of TATE performance reviews, and I can count the number of bad ones on one hand. Unfortunately, after last night, that is no longer the case. The vitriol reached epic proportions, whether it was from people for whom this was their first experience of the band or, more dishearteningly, from longtime fans who were stunned by what they witnessed.

I know I can easily be dismissed as an Airborne apologist. Though I strive for objectivity, I make no bones about the fact that This Is Nowhere is a fan site. My default position is one of support, and my first instinct is to give them the benefit of the doubt. Five perfect albums and over a thousand thrilling performances have earned them that much, in my opinion.

That being said, it’s difficult to mount a credible defense for what occurred on this one particular night. Yes, there were a number of factors beyond the band’s control that contributed greatly, but there’s no sugarcoating the fact that the response to those circumstances was not good. Mikel and his bandmates would be the first to admit it, I am sure. If this is indeed to be the last we see of them for awhile, it’s a sour taste to be left with, and that is very unfortunate all around. The band, and the fans, deserve better.

But…

This is, in the end, one particular night: a “One Time Thing,” if you like. It is one bad gig among a thousand great ones. It is one time that fans left disappointed, among a thousand times that expectations have been surpassed. It is one night when Mikel let sickness and circumstances get the best of him, among a thousand nights when he has spilled his guts on the stage regardless of how he was feeling or what was going on in his life.

Music fans are consumers, and those who were there last night are justified if they don’t feel like they got their money’s worth. And if they thought it was so bad that they choose never to return, as some have sworn, that too is their right.

As for me, I choose to focus on the thousand, and not on the one. I’ll be first in line the next time they come to my town, whenever that happens to be. I hope you’ll be there with me… and I hope, above all, that Mikel will be well.

GlenGlen 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.

The faithful commune at The Airborne Toxic Event concert at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA. Photo by Ryan Macchione.

The faithful commune at The Airborne Toxic Event concert at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA. Photo by Ryan Macchione.

By Colleen

There is a collective mourning throughout the music community for the lives lost in Paris last week, specifically the massacre at the Bataclan concert hall during the Eagles of Death Metal show. The shock from this disturbingly violent attack is still reverberating in my own community of like-minded friends, most of whom are Airborne fans. The shared thread and whispered assertion remains the same: “It could have been me.”

It could have been all of us. Every single person who attends a public event like a concert is involved, from artist to audience member, and by extension their family and friends. Truly, we are all affected by this tragedy, either outwardly or in the back of our minds. It is now occupying a place in our conscious or subconscious.

Our awareness is heightened now more than ever, especially if we attend or perhaps even headline a public event. Suspicion is creeping close behind, causing us to look over our shoulder and scan our surroundings for an unidentifiable figure dressed in black called fear.

It is everywhere, from schools to movie theaters to malls, and now music venues, where security has usually been less of a presence and the safety has been enforced in a general sense (i.e., no firearms allowed). This is most likely about to change.

There are many chilling events going on worldwide that strike fear in our hearts at any given time, but none so much as this. Why?

Because it happened in a sacred space.

It happened in a place of our minds that many of us frequent. A place to escape, to feel, to connect, to disconnect, to process, to find joy and meaning and validation and acceptance. A place where we relate to one another through the transcendent power of music. This was a deadly violation of a sacred space we as music lovers share. It is the space we stand shoulder to shoulder and sing lyrics we have memorized in our hearts. It is the space where grief dances with joy, where heartbreak entertains hope, and where disillusionment finds meaning. Most of us are there for a common reason: Music is healing, and never more is that so than at a live show, where words are painted like pictures on a moving canvas of light and sound. It is a place that up until recently has been relatively safe, where we may not always agree but vow to respect the right to live.

The attack in Paris violates that sacred space.

This is our world – a world in which there is fear, distrust, disillusionment, despair. But heroically, there is also kindness, compassion, selflessness, courage. Choosing to live comes with an inherent risk of dying, and we all make that choice every time we go to a show and stand in a crowd, or step onstage in front of a thousand liabilities both internal and external, or leave the shelter and protection of a glowing screen in front of our face. Living is the single greatest act of defiance in the face of such blatant disregard for human life, and it might seem selfish, but we all depend on it, every single one of us who want to escape the bars fear builds around us. We are here together, brushing shoulders on a sticky concert venue floor, with shining eyes and hopeful faces, our collective humanity rising up in the space between artist and audience, where music is both heard and felt on a level that transcends fear. Fear of the past, fear of the future, fear of the unknown, but most of all fear of regret

That the rest of your life
Will be a series of nights
That you spend in your mind
Staring backwards through time
At something you lost.

Take back your sacred space, not just for yourselves, but for the person standing on either side of you, for the person on the stage with you, and for the person standing in the pit below you. It is a sacred space we all share, and one we can never afford to lose.

When she’s not front row at a TATE show with a bird emblazoned on her face, Colleen can be found blogging regularly at These Stunning Ruins. She and her husband have also been known to occasionally lay down a wicked Airborne cover.

Yesterday, we released the results of the 2015 Airborne Toxic Event Fan Survey, compiling the data collected from 320 raving TATE fans. But if 63 pie charts and bar graphs are too much for you, today we’ve got something a little easier on the eyes.

Kelly Milligan, TIN reader and graphic designer extraordinaire, has combined her talents and our nerdiness to produce this gorgeous infographic poster presenting key findings of the survey in a visually striking format.

Kelly has very generously made the poster available to all Airborne fans free of charge. To download a printable version measuring 9.5 x 21.23″, click here. Thank you Kelly for all the work you put into this amazing piece!

The Airborne Toxic Event Fan Survey 2015 Infographic