After 11 years of bringing you local reporting, the team behind the Vancouver Observer has moved on to Canada's National Observer. You can follow Vancouver culture reporting over there from now on. Thank you for all your support over the years!

There's something in the air, an evening with Airborne Toxic Event

There was something in the air when Airborne Toxic Event played at Vancouver's Commodore Ballroom. It all began with a simple song, 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by Queen.

Prior to Airborne's performance this famous song was heard through house speakers and everyone, I mean everyone, in the audience started singing together in harmony. For the entire song, 5:55 seconds of it, it warmed my heart seeing everyone sing together as one.

I knew  there was something in the air and the performance to follow would be filled with the same amount of energy and exuberance. And like clockwork, the song came to an end, the house lights dimmed and Airborne Toxic Event took the stage to a very excited sold-out Commodore Ballroom.

Each band member took the stage dressed sharply in black which coincidentally seemed to reflect the mournful theme of their opening song "Welcome to Your Wedding Day".

A song inspired by a tragic story where an American drone attack accidentally killed a bride and several others at a wedding in Afghanistan. Don't let this tragic song fool you, their would be no letting up until the encore.

They followed the song with one of their hit songs 'Gasoline', it was clear the band came to rock as they continued to serve up one thundering rock song after another. It was not long before they really let loose after six songs in "Something New" lead singer Mikel Jolett unbuttoning the shirts of fellow band members Adrián Rodríguez (bassist) and Steven Chen (guitarist) much to the delight of screaming female fans.

The set closed with two of their biggest hits 'Sometime Around Midnight' followed by 'All I Ever Wanted' both kept the audience screaming for more.

It took almost a full minute for the fans to calm down before the band members exited the stage. Shaking things up they came back on with a whopping five song encore, finishing the night off with an ecstatic high. It was clear something was in the air as Vancouver fans got everything they asked for and more. 


For those unfamiliar with the Indie rock band, they reside from Los Angeles, California and are named after a section in Don DeLillo's novel, White Noise. The band much like the book has garnered so much attention and praise from critics and fans wherever they perform. Lead singer Mikel Jollett uses his music to tell a story just as much as he uses it to move his fans.

Formed in 2006, they consist five band members: Mikel Jollett (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Steven Chen (guitar, keyboards), Adrián Rodríguez (electric bass, backing vocals), Daren Taylor (drums) and Anna Bulbrook (violin, keyboard, tambourine, backing vocals). Since their musical birth they've released three studio albums and one Live album featuring the Calder Quartet. Besides playing frequently with the Calder Quartet, the group has performed alongside the Louisville Orchestra and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.

Evening Set-list:

1. Intro
2. Welcome to Your Wedding Day
3. Gasoline
4. Changing
5. Happiness is Overrated
6. Something New
7. Hell and Back
8. California
9. What's in a Name?
10. The Storm
11. Numb
12. Wishing Well
13. Wrong
14. Sometime Around Midnight
15. All I Ever Wanted


16. The Graveyard Near the House
17. Elizabeth
18. Bride and Groom
19. Moving On
20. All At Once

More in Music

Marcus King Band brings Southern Blues North of the border for the first time

This week Marcus King and his five-piece band played the Commodore Ballroom. It was the first time King had played in Vancouver and fans were ecstatic for his arrival. The venue was packed brimming...

"Voices Appeared" to silent Maid

Orlando Consort sets Dreyer's Saint Joan masterpiece to 15th century scores

Mt. St. Hille's pyroclastic gems

Veda Hille self-celebrates a life well-lived in idiosyncratic solo show "Little Volcano"
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.