The Airborne Toxic Event tonight, I know, I say it loads of times but I have really, really been looking forward to tonight. I discovered the band a couple of years ago when I went to the Oxegen Festival in Dublin. It was an instant love affair, and after catching them again at Shepherds Bush later in the year, I was well and truly hooked!
I love their music, the energy of their performance and how they treat their fans. I remember at the end of the Shepherds Bush gig Mikel jumped off the stage, over the barrier and asked me if I know where the girl in the red dress went. The girl stood next to me throughout the gig but disappeared shortly before the finish. How I wished to be that girl in the red dress at that moment of time……I can dream can’t I? At Least I got a photo with Mikel! 🙂
But back to tonight’s event, my partner in crime Kathy and I are planning to leave as early as possible, but best laid plans and all that…hehehehehe. I must admit I did fret a bit about being at the end of a long queue as I was sure queuing started hours ago. To our surprise when we arrived at about 6:30pm the queue wasn’t huge, there was a good chance of getting to the barriers. 🙂 Chatting to the people behind us I discovered that they have actually travelled down from the furthest away point in Scotland, that is what you call dedication, I do know fans travelled in from Europe too.
We don’t have to wait long to be let in, I’m not too sure about KOKO‘s layout anymore, it’s been a while since I have been here. Many many moons ago I did come clubbing here when it was still the Camden Palace..good days!
We are in, the race is on ….arrrghhhh, where are the stairs to get to the stage? Found them, down we go and manage to get the last barrier space at stage left, ok so we have massive speakers in front of us, but we should be able to see ok.
We have been trying to find out who is supporting tonight, but apparently nobody seems to know…..asking one of the photographers in front of us she tells us it’s ‘An Escape Plan’ and that they sound pretty damn good. I haven’t heard of them so I’m looking forward to discovering a new band.
It took another hour of waiting until ‘An Escape Plan‘ came on stage. I must say, almost immediately I liked this band, I’m not sure yet how to categorise them, they are different to your average support band. I’m taken by the softness of their tunes yet they sound strong and firm, the harmonies between the band members are brilliant. I love the fact that not only front man Craig does the singing, everybody seems to contribute in the vocal department. We also get told that tonight’s bassist is borrowed and has managed to learn all the songs within 48 hours, pretty impressive, a sign of a talented musician. It seemed a real close knit band, enjoying playing together, sharing the banter with the crowd, talking about the banter, for me the gaps between songs were too long, it seems buying time was the main reason. I’m not a musician, so maybe tuning a guitar is a headache and needs to be done all the time, but it just didn’t flow and I thought it would break the attention of the crowd, who knows, there may have been a bit of nervousness being faced with a sold out venue or a problems with the equipment, what do I know…lol! (Since posting this I had a lovely reply, it is the tuning that takes ages, one day they will have more guitars and a “tuner” person)
The ‘BeeGee’s’ cover “Living Together” showed young Kathryn taking the lead, what a beautiful voice, you want to close your eyes and be swept away by a wave of emotions. Actually I think that was what happened, the tunes, voices and performance played with your emotions :-).
I really want to see them again soon, there is a free gig at The Monarch in Camden on the 7th March, I’m already busy that night, but get yourself down there and check them out. Love them or hate them, but check them out! Click here to hear “Warm Hearts Break Slowly” which is another song I really liked!
Once the techies were on stage I tried really hard to get their attention to grab a set list, no luck. I managed to tap the young photographer (who insistently danced all the way through their set), on the shoulder to get her attention. She picks up a screwed up paper which has been thrown on the stage floor and passes it to me, yes, it’s a set list. Just then the technician who chucked it and came over to me, he smiled and said: “…what are you picking up…..come on, give it to me…” I’m a bit disappointed but give it back to him, he looks at it, smiles and says “that’s ok”…and passes it back to me. He wanders off, comes back and passes me another piece of paper, I take it, look at it and all I can see is ‘The Airbourne…’………OMG, it’s the set list. I quickly fold it up and hide it in my bag, I don’t want to know what will be played yet, but I’m really happy to have one already! Thank you so much Mr. Techie, hope I didn’t get you into trouble here…..but that was soooo lovely of you. 🙂
The Stage is ready, anticipation ripples through the room, every time the lights get dimmed slightly excited shrieks….they are letting us wait…lol!
Finally they are here, screams, shouts and clapping is greeting the band, launching straight into “All At Once”, Mikel is straight away working the stage, standing on the drummers podium with his back to us or sidling up to Noah, coming back to deliver the first song with such energy and passion that the crowed is immediately drawn in. I don’t think it matters what he plays next, he’s got us in the palm of his hand! Love, love, loving it!!! Arms in the air, people are jumping, including me, you just can’t help it! His “Good Evening London” at the end of the song seem to comes from the heart,how happy am I to be here, glancing at Kathy she feels the same! 🙂
“Wishing Well” and “Timeless” are next, loads of banter in between, like: ” …We are all going back to his place after the show..” Mikel is pointing at a bloke in the audience. I catch Noah smiling and nodding at the girls next to us, he obviously recognises them. Nobody is standing still and many know all the lyrics and sing along in fine voice (or not as in my case), there is no way to describe the energy, the buzz and emotions that are going on here. You just had to be there, Mikel is actually transferring all the feeling he shows while singing the songs onto his fans, a mixture of joy, sadness and ecstasy sweeps over us like a big wave crashing onto the shore. It’s really weird, I felt like I have to totally surrender myself to this music, I can’t stop smiling, jumping, screaming……..good job my kids aren’t here, they might just get a tad embarrassed, but I just don’t care any more! Anna seems to be staying slightly in the background today, maybe I just feel that as I’m on the other side of the stage, she does however jump into the crowd at some point for a bit of crowd surfing. Steven also looks a bit solemn, only ventures a couple of times nearer the edge of the stage and poor Daren stays hidden behind his drum kit. I hear a shout out behind me, first a bloke and then a girl” Noah I love you”, oh, that was Kathy……hehehehehe, I’m not the only one getting carried away. But it’s Mikel who steals the show, not only with his heartfelt and powerful vocals, “Sometime Around Midnight” for instance, you feel his pain, I did read somewhere where he stated: ” When I write a song,I’m trying to get down an emotion, a scene or a setting. Everything important that happens after that happens between the music and the listener; the rest of it is all mythology. The collective interpretation of it is way more important than what I think.”, and how true is that? Coming back to stealing the show, Mikel is mental, he is attempting to climb onto the balcony on stage right when he was singing “Something New”, he couldn’t though, ended up on his roadies shoulders promptly launching into the crowd for a spot of crowd surfing. Another time he came to our side of the stage, again climbing up pleasing the fans on the balcony including the couple we met in the queue, shame we didn’t catch their names, Mikel disappears behind the curtains just to burst back onto stage a few minutes later. He must be a security nightmare…lol! “Numb”, “Wedding Day”, “Changing” one amazing song after another, the new one “True Love” apparently it is what it says on the tin, amazing. Finishing with “All I Ever Wanted” they leave the stage, we know they will be back, but we’re still shouting and screaming!
Starting the encore with “Innocence” another awesome song, laughing at the banter when he started “Happiness Is Overrated” about how NICE Catherine was, he did ask for it not to be put on uTube, well, it is there but you’ll have to find it yourself!
Finishing with “Missy” where he strays mid-song into Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire”, Tom Petty’s “American Girl” and the Boss’s “Born In The USA”, this last song turned into a 10 minute track, absolutely f******* fantastic! Mikel’s final words ” We love you”, the feeling is mutual……I’m writing this 2 day’s later, and I’m still buzzing.
In true ‘Airborne Toxic Event’ spirit Mikel jumps off the stage to come and meet the fans, shaking hands, signing stuff and posing for photos, Anna and Noah join in later but by the time Steven comes along it’s too late :-(, at least I have 2 signatures on my album cover. No photo with Mikel today but Kathy got hers with Noah.
An absolutely brilliant amazing night, thank you, please don’t stay away too long. ♥