The Airborne Toxic Event
with Voxhaul Broadcast
The Beacham, Orlando, FL • May 27, 2011
Walking into the newly reopened Beacham in Orlando, FL, I wasn’t as impressed as I should have been. The turn out on this day wasn’t too spectacular; it looked as if the venue was half sold. The vibe inside was nice, though a lot of the fans didn’t seem too excited to see the bands.
As the crowd grew a little bigger the opening act, Voxhaul Broadcast, took the stage. Coming from Orange County, California, they released their debut EP entitled Rotten Apples in 2008. Playing many songs off their recently released album Timing Is Everything and throwing in some covers of other songs, Voxhaul Broadcast added some much needed energy to the crowd. With David Dennis (guitar,vocals) shouting into the mic and Phillip Munsey on the bass shaking his long hair violently, this band was more impressive than the headliners turned out to be. They had a sense of urgency, better lyrics, and an overall more impressive stage presence compared to Airborne Toxic Event. After a fairly short set of about 10 songs, I was left wanting more by the time Voxhaul Broadcast had finished.
As The Airborne Toxic Event took the stage, the dim red lights presented the musicians: Mikel Jollett (vocals), Steven Chen (guitar), Noah Harmon (backing vocals), Daren Taylor (drums), and Anna Bulbrook (viola/keyboard). The California band is known for the blends of orchestral arrangements with rock music as demonstrated on their second album, All at Once.
They’ve got some catchy tunes, but much of the music — Jollet’s vocals especially — got lost beneath the bass. Having many instruments in a band can be a good thing, but in this case, they didn’t know how to incorporate them all together. I did like some of the viola pieces that Anna Bulbrook added to the music, but It wasn’t enough to get me totally involved in it.
Throughout the set Jollett took some breaks to rant about current issues like war and his ex, which did add some humor to it. The Airborne Toxic Event then moved on to another song “Gasoline,” in which Steven Chen and Bulbrook shared some dueling solos. They played their newest single, “Changing,” then shifted to a anti-war song “The Kids Are ready to die.” The best part of their show was the encore, when they pulled out some songs like The Clash’s “I Fought the Law” and Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” which seemed to have brought back some interest to the crowd.
All in all, the night was a mild one, with the focus being more on looking cool then sounding ground-breaking.