Show Review: The Airborne Toxic Event @ La Zona Rosa

Airborne Toxic Event returned to Austin, this time to headline at La Zona Rosa. Austin festival regulars, this was a first for the band, not hauling gear offstage after their set to scurry across town. Voxhal Broadcast came along. More after the jump.

Voxhal Broadcast were capable openers, fancying themselves a Rock and Roll band. Sufficiently loud, musically capable, likable just not a band I like, won’t judge if you do. It was brief set, forty minutes and good night Austin.

The Airborne Toxic Event took to the stage, happily waving with a little banter and off they went. The set was scheduled for an hour and forty minutes. That is a pretty extensive reach into a two album catalog. The set list was nineteen songs strong.

During the show, band leader, Mikel Jollett, shared stories about song origin, admitting that the first album was about an Ex and reinforcing to the crowd that “Kids” was intended to be there to support the troops, not get the band tagged as being anti-America. The softer moments were the stronger moments, high energy tended to get washed out a bit and they had feedback issues all night. Worst of all, the great guitar kick in “Innocence” was stopped dead by a failed effects pedal or pickup (not sure), forcing a guitar change. *edit – It was a broken string, thanks for the comment Jessica.

Make no mistake, this band is full of musicians, often trading instruments and places on stage. The crowd sang along, enjoying their time with the band. My complaint for the show is the new material. Having seen then during SxSW in 2009, I know this band’s dynamic ability. The new material is flat compared to the epics of “Innocence” and “Sometime Around Midnight”. Perhaps Mikel needs another break-up.


  • The song is called “Sometime Around Midnight” and the guitar issue was when a guitar string broke, not a pedal issue. I will agree the second album is flat but live the songs have more power and punch.

  • Apologies for the typo, first review written by hand on the new Slate PC.

    The string issue really leveled the song. I had shuffled back after fighting my way through the crowd to get shots with only three songs and no photo pit. From the abrupt lack of sound and the ensuing delay, I assumed it was more than just a string.

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