The Airborne Toxic Event - Union Chapel - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

The Airborne Toxic Event - Union Chapel

by Lawrence Poole Rating: Release Date:

It was certainly appropriate that The Airborne Toxic Event gang treated a sold out Union Chapel crowd to a reverential performance in Islington - for the first half of their two-hour set anyway. After all, they were in one of London's most baroque and gothic settings - but anybody who has caught the Los Angeles quintet in action before will surely have known the musical minding of ps and qs could only last so long, but more of that later.

The perfect way to round off a weekend, TATE fans grabbed a pew at this alternative Sunday service to hear tracks from their slow-burning eponymous debut plus a few sneaky peaks of new material from their forthcoming sophomore LP, due out in March. And, despite getting a stripped down version of first album opener 'Wishing Well' early on, it was mainly new material ('Numb', 'Welcome to Your Wedding') and cover versions - including a sterling version of Johnny Cash's 'Folsom Prison Blues' - from there on in.

Frontman Mikel Jollet was quite the raconteur, filling in all the details, if a little earnestly at times, behind each song while Noah Harmon expertly pounded away on the double bass and the über-cute Anna Bulbrook caressed her violin.

After a refreshment break, Jollet and co had clearly decided to shift things up a couple of gears; the wiry frontman was now swigging merrily from a bottle of red wine and the shackles were off. 'Gasoline' saw them crash into the second half with bluesy gusto, with Anna, now respendent in a tiger-print mini-dress, footstomping her way across the stage. 'Sometime Around Midnight' was predictably sublime and 'Innocence's lush layering, built around Steven Chen's guitar licks, worked beautifully in such an stunning setting.

All in all, a real treat of an evening - as ever with TATE though, one has to wonder when they'll get the mainstream breakthrough their undoubted talent, musicianship and ear for a storming melody deserves.

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