Written by Michael Martin
On Saturday, July 16, The Airborne Toxic Event made its debut in an electrifying concert at the Davies Symphony Hall to a packed house of eager and thrilled fans. Known for their dramatic blend of rock and electronic music with orchestral arrangements, The Airborne Toxic Event skyrocketed to popularity with the gold-selling single “Sometime Around Midnight” from the band’s self-titled 2008 debut album. A song that spent a staggering eight weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart. Since then, The Airborne Toxic Event has played a diverse spectrum of concerts, from performing with the Louisville and Colorado symphony orchestras to playing at the Coachella and Lollapalooza music festivals. Being a massive EDM and rock fan and artist myself, I was excited to see they were coming to San Francisco for exceptional performance with our beloved SF Symphony. It was nice to see Davies Hall was checking vaccination cards and still requiring masks, given that Covid cases are still lurking around.
On this night, the Symphony was conducted by the brilliance of Bruce Anthony Kiesling, who led the talented Orchestra so effortlessly and with precise musical flow. Joining Airborne Toxic Event singer Mikel Jollet were band members Daren Taylor (drums/percussion), Steven Chen (guitar/piano), Adrian Rodriguez (bass/piano/guitar), and finally, the lovely Miriam Peschet on lead violin, vocals, and keyboards. The band was ever so gracious and humbled to be backed by world-class musicians, it was a dream come true for them, and they responded with eager appreciation. As a first-time attendee of one of Airborne’s live shows, I was engulfed in the magic of each song as the music rang out from the stage with pure raw emotion. Their thought-provoking lyrics and excellent songwriting were evident in many fans cheering and singing along. The entire collaboration came together with the intensity of every instrument, including cellos, violins, woodwinds, harps, and drums. It seemed each song became more and more emotional, winning over new and old fans with each beat. Throughout the evening, there were several standing ovations, tears, joy, and a room filled with lots of love. A few times, vocalist Mikel lost his place in translation and had to stop the whole Orchestra, which is understandable and acceptable as we all got lost in the beautiful music at times. He created and perfected the night’s arrangement first in his apartment and then multiple practice sessions amplified by the mighty SF Symphony, to bring to stage such a spectacular night of music. Miriam Peschet added so much flavour to the lead violin and her melodic Nord keyboard that some fans were on their feet moving along. Miriam’s beautiful backing vocals brought a deep richness to every song.
Singer Mikel Jollet was celebrating his wedding anniversary with his wife, who was in the crowd and so eloquently dedicated a song to her. It was an incredibly romantic moment when he made a heartfelt speech about how he lost his father, and she stepped into his life to fill a great void. A standout moment was when Mikel mentioned all the craziness in the world and how men should support women without judgment and as equals. If you’re a fan of indie or pop music, try to catch this incredible band’s ongoing performances. Airborne Toxic Event took us on a ride of great music and a brilliant fusion of styles, accompanied by our favourite Orchestra. It was another memorable night that we will remember for some time.
For more info on the SF Symphony go to: www.sfsymphony.org
For more info on Airborne Toxic Event go to: https://theairbornetoxicevent.com