Live Review: The Airborne Toxic Event with Morning Parade and Sissy and the Blisters at London Heaven – 10th February 2011

By on Tuesday, 22nd February 2011 at 2:00 pm
 

It’s been a bit of a roller coaster for the Airborne Toxic Event over the last two years. They’ve risen from obscurity to playing huge theatres with symphony orchestras, selling out increasingly big concerts along the way. All of this, let’s not forget, was on the back of their debut album that seems so distant now. Their second album is now finished and they’ll be out promoting that then, but tonight, the HMV Next Big Thing festival has called them to London Heaven for one of the biggest shows of the fortnight. You can’t help but think that the name of the event doesn’t quite fit the act on stage, but without anything to promote, this is a real fans’ show.

First though, come two of the brightest sparks on the English music scene. First up are Essex’s Morning Parade. With their mix of mainstream rock influences from electronic through to punk, they light up the stage with the soaring Under the Stars and new single ‘A&E’. They don’t exactly rock the place to its core, but for an act that few assembled know, they do a good job. Which is kind of interesting, comparatively that is. Sissy and the Blisters do things loud, brash and tamely angry, if you can put the two words together. Their lead singer storms around the stage like a bonafide rock star and their music isn’t far from it either. Imagine if the Horrors all suddenly got angry and wrote it all down, and you’ve got something similar to the energy of Sissy and the Blisters. The crowd may not have known either of tonight’s support acts, but with such diversity between them, everyone’s bound to be listening to one of those acts after the night’s done.

The Airborne Toxic Event tonight have nothing to gain or lose. This is the nearest to the calm before the storm they’ll probably get for quite some time when second record ‘All at Once’ is released. Not that anyone’s told them that. They’re going for it as they would every night, with passion and commitment to the brilliant live sound they’re becoming renowned for. New tracks feature heavily, but they’re subsided with their power and the crowd’s dedication to enjoying every minute. ‘All I Ever Wanted’, which features on the band’s live album of the same name, appears to have already been learnt by fans, as is new single ‘Changing’, which brings a smile to the band’s faces.

“Speaking of…little Miss Catherine…” begins the song ‘Happiness is Overrated’, but is continued by frontman Mikel Jollett joking with, “who doesn’t know that thousands of people in London are singing about her right now” before engaging in a huge singalong of “Sorry, I really lost my head…”, really demonstrating the great connection the Airborne Toxic Event share with their fans. They’re hugely appreciative of the fans that gained them such a quick and loyal following, and it really shows. ‘Sometime Around Midnight’ is, as expected, the biggest track of the evening, as the emotions around the venue tonight really sweep me away as if everyone in the room can relate to such a personal track’s soul.

All that said, it’s not a melancholy affair at all. Everyone present’s enjoying themselves, and I can spot bobbing heads and mouthed lyrics all the way to the back bar throughout (I checked). The new tracks demoed tonight don’t show a step away from the sounds of their self-titled record, but they show a maturing in both musicianship and lyric writing. Everything abouttThe Airborne Toxic Event that their followers love is still there, and now it’s even more refined, without losing its edge. Gasoline is a huge way to close the set and night closer All At Once is a real benchmark for their future. Where 2011 will take this band, I’m not sure, but at the current rate, the sky’s the limit.

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[…] Wombats (first supporting the Airborne Toxic Event for HMV’s Next Big Thing Festival, review here) through to their triumphant and potentially breakthrough show at London’s Scala (review […]

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