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Caught live: The Airborne Toxic Event at 100 Club (2009)

The Airborne Toxic Event

Review by Matt Hamm

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5

IN 2006, Mikel Jollett had possibly the worst week ever. In the space of seven days he found out his mum had cancer, his girlfriend had broke up with him and was diagnosed with an incurable autoimmune disease. Not cool!

So, switching from writing prose to songs, Jollett formed a band – The Airborne Toxic Event (TATE)… a band who on Wednesday night (February 4, 2009) at the 100 Club in London truly came into their own.

Unlike many bands out there at the moment, TATE’s music oozes emotion and raw energy, that can’t help but be influenced by that terrible week in 2006. Their songs are powerful; immediately sucking you into their world, and when on stage, this new band are overwhelmingly promising.

The LA five-piece are all very different and individually intriguing, from the crazy drummer to the crowd surfing violinist; but its lead singer Jollett, who subtly captures your eye. He belts out each song with real passion, as if it’s the last time he’ll sing it.

Preceded by the impressive Eastbourne band Capitol, TATE came out to a spatter of cheers as they jumped on stage at the slightly late hour of 10pm, but at the end of their set they left to sheer elation as they finished surrounded by adoring (and very drunk) fans dancing on stage.

TATE’s set loosely followed the album playlist, starting with Wishing Well and finishing with the brilliant Innocence. There were no disappointments, even the two new tracks in the middle kept the crowd hooked.

Current hit and Xfm favourite, Sometime Around Midnight, was a particular highlight, as Jollett and the gang belted out the highly emotive track to the joy of the packed 100 Club.

A strong encore of Does This Mean You’re Moving On? and Missy was enough to send the rowdier members of the crowd onto the stage and have a boogey with the band, to cap off an amazing night of music.

TATE buzz with an endless supply of energy and have an impressively solid collection of songs; so this band should succeed over here right?! Well, maybe not… as Jollett informed the crowd: “This is the fourth time we’ve come to the UK without a record!”

Now, that’s not only shocking that a great band can be overlooked, but that the British music industry is more interested in funding much of the inferior rubbish that fills our charts. Having said that, it must surely only be a matter of time before they’re picked up in the UK.

And after a gig where I finished arm in arm with lead singer, hell, I’ll put some money their way…. who’s with me?!