Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How I Fell In Love with The Airborne Toxic Event

Let me be very clear- this is about adoration. This is about long wasted nights and hollow days. This is about poetry. This is about bravery. This is about freedom . This is about jealousy and need. This is about the universal language. This is about The Airborne Toxic Event.

A little while before Christmas 2008, my best friend fell in love with a song she had heard on the radio. It had no hook and she had trouble describing the lyrics and the sound to me. She added the CD to her Amazon wish list and because she likes to share, she found the video and made me watch it.

Of the video, I remember blues and grays and blacks, a quintet of earnest musicians who couldn’t quite decide between an emo or a hipster vibe and a voice almost anemic against the orchestral assault of drums, guitar, bass and viola. I watched. I listened. I felt my rib cage expand as though the emptiness there were being filled. The initially meek voice evolved to a sudden crescendo of sorrow and anguish I hadn’t heard in music for a while. My friend played the video again. And again. The song was titled Sometime Around Midnight.

I went home with a copy of the CD blaring from my Jeep. It lived there for some time.

By the time the band managed to show up for a local gig however, my ardor was waning. While the lyrics and the sound were so arresting, I’m one of those to whom a visual deepens an experience and up to that point I didn’t even have the liner notes for the album and could only watch the Youtube videos from my friend’s Mac (That’s right, I had dial-up. You wanna make something of it?). I needed something more to supplement my interest.

By George, they gave me more! The Airborne Toxic Event- Mikel Jollett, Anna Bulbrook, Noah Harmon, Steven Chen and Daren Taylor- rocked the Ogden that night. And as they performed, as they sang, as they danced, as they jumped from amps, as they jocularly played with and against one another, as they clearly showed they loved their job, they managed to infect me. Some germ or spore emigrated from them and took up residence in this shell I call a body. Truly it was of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” proportions.

How do I know I was infected? Well you may ask. Because I can’t ignore the call of their music. Any song of theirs will instantly absorb my attention, take me trance-like to a place where no one can bother me. Because Mikel Jollett’s voice sounds like home. Because I’m a very shy and reserved person, yet so strong is the need for the spore within me to be near it’s originator I will reach out and touch the band members on-stage and off. Because I pine and buy and collect and photograph and video and read and even with all of this, my need cannot be sated.

I fell hard. Indeed, a few years (and five more shows) later, I am still falling, truly, madly, deeply in love with a band.

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