[Eastside Eye] Local Band and Kids Rock Coachella
Los Feliz based Indie rockers The Airborne Toxic Event got their start playing Silver Lake and Echo Park’s clubs. The quintet’s 2008 hit song, “Sometime Around Midnight,” propelled the group into the music mainstream. Over two weekends, the band played the 90,000-strong 2013 Coachella Music Festival’s main stage—one of several local groups that made the scene, including the children’s choir from the Silver Lake Conservatory of Music, who backed Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
Lead singer and songwriter Mikel Jollett describes the desert festival as the crown jewel of Southern California rock festivals.
“If you play Coachella, you’re part of the music culture in general. It’s great to be a part of it, it’s great to feel vindicated and that you’re adding your voice to pop culture,” said lead singer and songwriter Jollet, when reached on tour in Kansas. Because the festival does not cater to one niche, the mix of modern music and spectacle sets Coachella apart from other shows, as does its “massiveness,” said Jollett. He found the two weekends very similar, although the second weekend show, he said, was more relaxed and “less nerve wracking.”
The band is in the midst of a tour to promote its third album Some Hot Blood. Recorded in Nashville’s, Blackbird Studios, it’s available April 30th. There was a good response from Coachella fans to the new material according to Jollett, who said the goal with the new record was somewhat cinematic. Like a film, the songs are filled with varied emotions from pathos to levity, with an ongoing story line. “It was always the goal, that the record would unfold like a movie. Listening, you are participating in a story, spending time with these ideas and characters and getting lost in them,” he said.
The band came up through the Silver Lake music scene, playing gigs at Spaceland and Sunset Junction early on. Jollett counts Fitz and the Tantrum’s Michael Fitzpatrick among his friends—they can often be found at LA Mill when they’re not touring.
The Airborne Toxic Events’ live album was recorded at Disney Hall during the Philharmonic’s 2012 West Coast, Left Coast series that celebrates local artists.
“It was an incredible privilege to play Disney Hall and we wanted to live up to it,” Jollett said who brought in a children’s choir and the Belmont High School Marching Band as backup. “The idea was for it was wide: it was such a great opportunity and we wanted to involve artists in community,” he said and reflect the city’s many aspects, nationalities and mix of cultures.
For touring information: www.theairbornetoxicevent.com. Their name: inspired by a passage in novelist Don DeLillo’s White Noise.