The night started with the opening band, The Hounds Below from Detroit whose members included Jason Stollsteimer (also a member of The Von Bondies) on vocals and guitar along with Bassist Gjon, Guitarist Skye Thrasher, drummer Nick Adams and keyboardist Kara. They did a nice job opening during their 30 minute set. Their songs were short and little on the dark, moody style. The crowd was not much into it as everyone was mostly talking through their entire set. I thought they were good and maybe next time they can do a longer set and get the crowd into it.
After a 30 minute set change, the lights dimmed as the members of the headliner The Airborne Toxic Event took the stage. The band consists of Mikel Jollett (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Steven Chen (guitar, keyboards), Noah Harmon (electric bass), Daren Taylor (drums) and classically trained Anna Bulbrook (violin, keyboards). The band released its debut self-titled album in 2008 and its follow-up album, All at Once, on April 26, 2011.
Detroit was their first stop of this mini 8 city east coast tour. As Mike told the audience he WAS NOT EXPECTING such a huge turnout for their first headlining show as the crowd roared to his mention of the band playing - “DETROIT ROCK CITY”.
Anna started the night with her excellent violin playing (which she performed very well throughout the evening) as the crowd roared to the first notes and never stopped through the entire night. The crowd never stopped applauding, dancing, jumping around and singing along to all the songs. The very energetic crowd knew all the words to every song while the band members played their respective instruments to no fault.
I was amazed as Mike switched from guitar to keyboards, guitarist Steven also playing keyboards even though he was amazing on the guitar. They performed many songs from their latest album All at Once which included their current single “Changing”.
The 60 minute, 13 song set was full of high energy music, excellent musicianship performed by all the members and telling stories about the songs origins from Mike. It also, included Mike climbing the stack of speakers to sing a song or coming out on the main floor to sing to the audience (I am sure those young ladies in front were in “heaven” having their idol sing to them). Bassist Noah did a great job playing the bass with a bow (gave the tone another distinctive sound).
After a short two minute break, as the packed audience remained standing and screaming for the band to return, the drummer, Darren came on to the front of the stage and coaxed the audience to clap along to his drum solo. As he sat down and began playing, he was joined by bassist Noah, who climbed the riser and joined banging on the snare to a dueling battle between the two. The rest of the band came on and joined them to play another 30 minutes, 6 song encore. It was the longest encore I have seen performed by a young band on their first headlining tour. They did a great cover of “I fought the Law” which was dedicated to all sorts of police departments followed by Johnny cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”.
Overall, the evening was full of great music and GREAT musicianship by a young band that is destined to become a household name. This reviewer enjoyed the show and hopes the band great success for their bright future. Remember that name - The Airborne Toxic Event!!!