In their first year as a traveling band, the Airborne Toxic Event played more than 200 shows. During one stint in November, 2008, they played 30 shows in 30 days in the United Kingdom, managing to visit just about every corner of the England, Wales and Scotland—even tiny towns like Stoke-on-Trent, Yeovil, Barrow-in-Furnace and Fife—places that most British bands don’t go. Word of their raucous show spread, and when the record came out in the UK in February 2009, it debuted in the top 40 of the UK pop charts.
This was an unheard-of feat for a band that was self-releasing a record in the UK (since Majordomo didn’t have a UK division). Every single show of its follow-up UK tour in the spring was sold out. (As were future shows: one infamous London show in a 900-capacity venue sold out in 15 minutes)…
Back in the United States, the single “Sometime Around Midnight” continued to climb the radio charts, eventually cracking the top five. It was the first time a band on an independent label had done so in 20 years.
Such things happen every now and then. An idea takes hold, or a piece of music strikes a resonant chord and suddenly it seems the world is infinite, that something real can exist among the mind-numbing fray.
The Airborne Toxic Event are neither icons, nor saviors (they would say “there’s nothing to save, it saved us,”), nor pop stars, nor disinterested hipsters… They’re just a group of friends traveling from place to place, playing oddly redemptive songs, written during some oddly painful times.
Maybe the world is changing around them. Or maybe nothing ever changes and all anybody ever wanted was to hear was an honest song.