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Live Review: The Airborne Toxic Event (Acoustic Set with the Calder Quartet) at 6th and I Synagogue, Washington, DC – Tuesday 7th September 2010

By on Thursday, 9th September 2010 at 2:00 pm

The Airborne Toxic Event is a band that means an awful lot to me. They’re the first band I ever covered and wrote about online, having made their appearance in Washington in March 2009. Having seen them wow a massive crowd at the 9:30 Club last autumn, I was feeling quite unsure on how they were going to go over in the hallowed confines of Sixth and I Synagogue, known more for their folk and classical gig nights.

The show was even more unique as it was billed as an acoustic set and would feature the Calder Quartet, who would add classical string backing to the show. This might be unusual for any other rock band but not so for TATE: in addition to keyboards, TATE band member Anna Bulbrook also plays the decidedly ‘not rock star’ viola onstage and interestingly enough, Bulbrook’s brother Andrew plays violin in the quartet. Further, the band played a much-acclaimed gig with the Calder Quartet at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles last December: for those of you who might be interested and have not otherwise heard, the concert film of this date will premiere at London’s Raindance Film Festival on 30 September.

Still, I can understand how there could be some resistance to the new acoustic ‘version’ of TATE. Any of those complaints should be easily quelled by the actual performance. Rather than detract or soften the overall emotional and often riot-inducing effect of TATE’s songs, the Calder Quartet added a warmth and beauty to every number they joined in on. Frontman Mikel Jollett is an incredibly gifted songwriter; he’s able to write intelligent, sensitive couplets to catchy rock melodies. You definitely get the feeling that the sentiment he’s giving you from the stage is genuine. Pair that with four good friends who are excellent musicians in their own right and add in some additional soaring strings from four more friends, and you’ve got a recipe for something truly amazing.

Continue reading Live Review: The Airborne Toxic Event (Acoustic Set with the Calder Quartet) at 6th and I Synagogue, Washington, DC – Tuesday 7th September 2010


Video of the Moment #187: ‘The Magic of Christmas’

By on Friday, 4th December 2009 at 6:00 pm


HUNKS + Friends – ‘The Magic of Christmas’ ft. Sky Larkin, Los Campesinos!, Slow Club + more

Normally, Christmas records are a load of crap. I’ve received several this year already, the vast majority are just depressing. However one has taken me by surprise – it’s mot pretending to be big budget, nor particuarly great, instead it’s just an exercise in fun. Featuring: (deep breath please…) Sky Larkin, Los Campesinos!, Sparky Deathcap, My First Tooth, The Airborne Toxic Event, Copy Haho, James Yuill, Sound of Arrows, and written by Bright Light, Bright Light‘s Rod Thomas, it’s fun, doesn’t pretend to be high quality and is just a good ol’ fashioned Christmas sing-along. The video isn’t half bad too – lots of fancy hat swapping.

It’s being released on Monday 14th December and all proceeds are donated to the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).


Live Review: The Airborne Toxic Event with Red Cortez and the Henry Clay People at 9:30 Club, Washington DC – 12 October 2009

By on Wednesday, 14th October 2009 at 2:00 pm

Purely by coincidence, the first time I’d seen all these bands was in March – and within 2 days of each other. The Henry Clay People had come to D.C. to support the Airborne Toxic Event at the Black Cat, and Red Cortez was opening for Morrissey at the Warner Theatre. This chilly Columbus Day night, the three bands from East Los Angeles came together for 3 hours of highly enjoyable sonic entertainment at the 9:30 Club.

d-cortez4We’re called Red Cortez. We used to be called the Airborne Toxic Event, but we don’t know what happened…” quipped from Harley Prechtel-Cortez, frontman and lead singer of Red Cortez halfway through their short 8-song set. This was indicative of the humour and fun nature of their band’s music: unpretentious rock delivered with spunk. Songs like ‘Fell on the Floor’ and ‘In the Fall’ are so bursting full of emotion, I’m really not sure why these guys are still unsigned. Ryan Kirkpatrick’s bass lines, drumming from Diego Guerrera, and guitars/keyboards from Calvin J. Love, along with guitar, harmonica, and keyboards by Prechtel-Cortez, all combine for a great rock ‘n’ roll sound.

The Henry Clay People were up next. This band has two singers, brothers Joey and Andy Siara, both of whom also play guitar. I felt really bad for them, because they had all sorts of technical problems: at the beginning, Andy’s mike was working, and later, his amp was acting up for most of the set. They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and this explains why Andy decided three songs in that they should play a cover of Jackson Browne‘s j-henryclay5‘Running on Empty’ while his brother tried in vain to fix the sound problems. But the band soldiered on in the face of adversity; ‘This Isn’t a Scene’ and ‘Working Part Time’ are examples of the ‘tude that the band exhibits on stage. Further, they ended their set with Joey Siara launching himself into the crowd while the band did a medley of the Velvet Underground‘s ‘Take a Walk on the Wild Side’, David Bowie‘s ‘Heroes’, and the Who‘s ‘Baby O’Riley’. I looked around disappointedly at the kids had absolutely no clue what songs these were. Oh, I feel old.

A sure sign that an indie band has arrived? They score a headlining gig at the 9:30. Only recently, after talking with several English acts, have I realised that the club is world famous and that everyone wants to p-tate6play there when they are here in D.C. Seriously now, who would have thunk it? The Airborne Toxic Event hasn’t been around all that long, so the band playing there is a major coup. The band has a very loyal following in the UK and has sold out London’s Koko and other venues in England, but I wondered if they would be able to fill the largest club venue in D.C. By 10 o’clock, it was apparent they had, as we were packed in like sardines.

The relatively complicated stage setup included two projections screens (one on stage right behind violist / keyboardist Anna Bulbrook and singer / guitarist Mikel Jollett, and the other stage left behind bassist Noah Harmon and guitarist Steven Chen) and two sets of stairs that led up to drummer Daren Taylor‘s set up, perched high up above the action. The stairs were utilized by all of the band members, who took turns climbing up with their instruments (thanks to long extension cords to their amps); in Harmon’s case, he jumped down rather recklessly with his bass. Rock ‘n’ roll baby.

l-tate2The set couldn’t be beat. ‘Gasoline’ and ‘Sometime Around Midnight’ turned into big singalongs, the multitude of voices singing in time in the cavernous venue echoing off the walls, eliciting huge grins from Jollett. He introduced ‘This is Nowhere’ as “a song about playing rock ‘n’ roll every night” and the crowd got into the act, shaking their bodies to the music, as if copying Bulbrook’s skittish dance moves across the stage that she exhibited all night long, often with her beloved viola in hand. The band slowed things down in the middle of their set with bare, acoustic versions of the oh-so-tender ‘Letter to Georgia’ and the first track off their self-titled album, ‘Wishing Well’ (described by Jollett as “the first song we ever wrote and played together as a band’. Gorgeous. If you ever get the chance to see the Airborne Toxic Event live in your town, go. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

After the cut: photos and set list.


Continue reading Live Review: The Airborne Toxic Event with Red Cortez and the Henry Clay People at 9:30 Club, Washington DC – 12 October 2009


Video of the moment #101: The Airborne Toxic Event

By on Friday, 14th August 2009 at 6:00 pm


The Airborne Toxic Event – Sometime Around Midnight

Atmospheric SoCal pop rockers the Airborne Toxic Event are coming back to the UK in November. But you may not yet have seen the music video for the paean to lost love, “Sometime Around Midnight”, which involves singer/guitarist Mikel Jollett getting his angst on in what appears to be a Los Angeles flat while having flashbacks of his ex, and his bandmates are there too, incongrously playing their instruments in the same flat. A bit surrealistic, but we like it.


Airborne Toxic Event / November 2009 UK and Ireland Tour

By on Thursday, 18th June 2009 at 9:01 pm

Californian rockers The Airborne Toxic Event have announced a series of 7 UK and Ireland tour dates for November 2009 around the UK.

Tickets are on sale now, priced between £8.50 and £11.50 each.

Catch the guys at:

Friday 6th November 2009 – London Shepherds Bush Empire
Saturday 7th November 2009 – Birmingham Academy
Sunday 8th November 2009 – Bristol Anson Rooms
Tuesday 10th November 2009 – Glasgow ABC
Wednesday 11th November 2009 – Dublin Olympia
Thursday 12th November 2009 – Manchester Ritz
Saturday 14th November 2009 – Oxford Academy


The Airborne Toxic Event / March and April 2009 UK Tour

By on Tuesday, 27th January 2009 at 11:21 am

The Airborne Toxic Event (side)Almost as soon as we mention The Airborne Toxic Event, they go and announce a trio of UK shows for early April and late March. Amazing. Now, maybe I should mention Stars, or The National and see if they come on over…

Tickets for the below trio of shows go on sale on Friday (30th January) at 9am I believe.

Tuesday 31st March 2009 – Glasgow Oran Mor
Wednesday 1st April 2009 – Manchester Club Academy
Thursday 2nd April 2009 – London KCLSU logoTo find tickets, we suggest you try using Needtickets. offers you the most comprehensive ticket service in the UK. With one click you can search every nationwide online ticket agent and as a result you can find tickets for any live music event that can be booked online. Every ticket is 100% guaranteed as only offers links to official agents.


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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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