The Airborne Toxic Event - All I Ever Wanted: Live From Walt Disney Concert Hall

"Excellent"

The Airborne Toxic Event - All I Ever Wanted: Live From Walt Disney Concert Hall Review


Review of The Airborne Toxic Event's DVD All I Ever Wanted Released through Island Records

One can only wonder at what possessed Pitchfork's Ian Cohen to launch into the vitriolic diatribe, which passed itself off as a review of their debut long player two years ago, but in many people's eyes the stigma created by such an abusive tirade seems to have shackled The Airborne Toxic Event to some extent.

While the arguments persist about the integrity and originality of the band - frontman Mikel Jollett did start out as a journalist after all - its difficult to find to many faults with their live performances, undoubtedly the catalyst for the band's meteoric rise from LA unknowns to potential trans-global rock stars. Admittedly the album contained maybe two or three songs too many - from a considered perspective at least - but in terms of post-millennial debut releases still sits quite merrily in the upper quartile range compared to many of its competitors.

No, the real burning question as far as The Airborne Toxic Event are concerned is more about where do they go from here? While the likes of 'Sometime Around Midnight' and 'Wishing Well' will always be held among the previous decade's cleverest pop/rock crossover tunes, the difficult responsibility of following such gems has placed a hefty burden on their shoulders. While, we'll have to wait until 2011 before the fruits of their extensive labours are revealed, this mammoth extravaganza of a live performance DVD inter spliced with various rehearsal sequences and interviews at least provides some kind of insight into the band's relentless work ethic, not to mention regimental attention to detail, casting aside any spurious claims they're a studied, manufactured industry fettled plaything.

This near ninety-minute long spectacle documents their show at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in their hometown last December. As a warts and all piece of film that shows a local high school band rehearsing their parts to 'Does This Mean You're Moving On?', the Calder string quartet learning their chops (The Airborne Toxic Event's Anna Bulbrook's brother Andrew is a member, incidentally) while bass player Noah Harmon sits at the piano working out how these newly defined orchestrations are going to take shape.

The actual performance itself won't come as much of a surprise to anyone who's witnessed the band in action. 'Gasoline' still excites with its Springsteen-esque fervour while 'Sometime Around Midnight''s show stopping brilliance and the climactic 'Innocence' herald a band comfortably at the top of their game in this kind of setting. Granted, the ragtime rhythm and blues take on The Ramones 'Do You Remember Rock And Roll Radio?' is reminiscent of the worst bits of Jools Holland's late night show, while the constant flitting between rehearsals and live performance during songs can be a little disorientating. Nevertheless, Mikel Jollett's heartfelt cover of The Magnetic Fields 'The Book Of Love', dedicated to his grandmother who passed away the week before the gig, is spellbinding, and along with their interpretation of 'Wild Horses' by Q Lazarus, suggests they have a more diverse spectrum of musical inspiration than their detractors give them credit for.

Of course it's debatable whether or not a band of The Airborne Toxic Event's status actually merits a DVD of this extent at such an early stage of their career, but for now, as both a document of their progress and a stopgap for the second album, it serves its purpose well.

7/10

Dom Gourlay



Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Jon Danovic

Starring: Anna Bulbrook as Herself, Noah Harmon as Himself, Mikel Jollet as Himself, Daren Taylor as Himself, Steven Chen as Himself

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