All I Ever Wanted: Live from The Walt Disney Concert Hall
directed by Jon Danovic
starring The Airborne Toxic Event
Island and Def Jam
For a band that’s only been around a few years, The Airborne Toxic Event has done well. A few solid albums, a big record deal and now a live concert at LA’s prestigious Walt Disney Hall all add up to musical success in my book. Sure, there’s no Top 40 Dick Clark hit yet, but they made rotation on a number of high profile LA rock stations. All I Ever Wanted takes a fairly straightforward rockumentary approach to the Disney Hall concert, mixing behind the scenes rehearsal and conceptualizing, individual interviews, and a good slice of the actual show. Concert footage is shot in color with the support material in B&W giving this a Wizard of Oz feel but with weaker continuity. All the interruptions make this OK for a introduction to the group, but given the quality of the stage production I’d love to just put this show on and hear it all the way through without the constant peeks backstage.
There’s a lively, energetic atmosphere with some very clever staging on this disc. The group enters the stage in the middle of a string quartet and slides right into “Wishing Well.” An accordionist accompanies “Something New,” adding a plaintive note to the arrangement. People always make fun of accordions, and while they can be abused as well as any instrument, sometimes a squeezebox is the perfect emotional accent to life. The biggest production number comes with “Does This Mean You’re Moving On?,” backed by a local high school marching band, adding an unstoppable rhythmic force to the number which gracefully transitions to an astounding cover of The Ramones’ “Rock and Roll Radio.” Along the way we see the group’s internal dynamic. While this is clearly Mikel Jollett’s show, his bandmates seem to be his creative equals as they debate chords and song intros and where they will enter, exit, and stand still. Violinist Anna Bulbrook tries on dresses and debates the difference between “formal” and “rock and roll formal” while keyboardist Steven Chen bemoans time spent in Minneapolis. All of this is to good effect; the concert mixes classical, indie rock and East LA mariachi into a hip multicultural stew. Unlike more than a few rock shows, these guys know how to put theatre on stage, and provide a concert experience that far exceeds the norm. The DVD layout isn’t ideal, but it’s a worthy addition to your collection and a cool snapshot of an up and coming group.
Airborne Toxic Event: www.theairbornetoxicevent.com