Friday, September 10, 2010

The Airborne Toxic Event at the Somerville Theatre, 9/8/10

Photo courtesy of

Ah, The Airborne Toxic Event. I have been fortunate enough to see them live five times now in the last two years or so. They only have one album, so this means I've heard the same songs over and over but TATE are such a great live band, I still haven't gotten tired of them.

TATE is quite possibly better live than recorded. I really liked them before I ever saw them perform - then I saw them open for Franz Ferdinand and fell head over heels in love. And every time that I've seen them since, they continue to amaze me.

Anyway, on to Wednesday night's show. The venue was the Somerville Theatre, which is an actual movie theater. I hope people weren't seriously trying to watch movies in there during the show, because the band blew the roof off that place. I actually liked being in the theater though, because it felt classy in a strange way AND you could eat popcorn during the performance. There was no opening band to sit through; the show just got right to the point. But the fanciest aspect of the night award goes to the Calder Quartet, which joined the band onstage to complement TATE's Anna Bulbrook and her viola (her brother is actually a member of the quartet). The added instrumentation sounded gorgeous, making the music sound fuller.

Check out TATE with the Calder Quartet in this clip from the band's upcoming live DVD:

The band played two "sets" with an intermission between (yeah, that's right. An intermission. I told you this joint was classy). The first set consisted of calmer songs like "Wishing Well," and the standard cover of "The Book of Love" originally by the Magnetic Fields. After the fifteen minute break, TATE came back out ready to rock though, and quickly had the crowd up on their feet dancing to gems like "Happiness is Overrated," "Gasoline" and "Papillon."

Personally, my favorite thing about TATE shows is just watching the band members, because they genuinely seem to love performing. Lead singer Mikel Jollett is one of the most personable frontmen I've ever seen; as soon as he walks on stage, he starts cracking jokes and chatting with the audience between each song. I wrote more about this back in April when I last saw them. At one point during Wednesday's show, he even made the comment that all the songs he writes are so angry and sad but then the band performs onstage and it all just feels like a celebration. True dat.

Watch him joke around with the audience (and eventually play "Happiness is Overrated") in someone else's video from the Somerville show:

My only complaint about the show is that it went by way too fast. They played for about 80 minutes (ish) but it felt like 40 instead (I blame the intermission). But otherwise, it was an amazing performance by an extremely talented group of musicians. I just adore this band.

TATE's live CD/DVD will be coming out on September 28, and they just finished recording a new album.


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