I had bought tix to see the Airborne Toxic Event as soon as they had gone on sale. And… then, I forgot about it. Thankfully, I remembered a day or so before the show. So, I told Drea that I was dragging her to the show. To say she was excited, would have been a huge exaggeration. In her mind, she was only going to recognize one or two songs. But, she was a trooper & came along with me.
We walked in as the opening band was finishing up. Grabbed a couple of beers and found a comfortable spot… or what we thought would be a comfortable spot. As ATE hit the stage, I quickly realized that I was standing next to the most awkward giant white boy ever. At some point he had been wearing Adidas sandals. But, now instead of on his feet, they were heel first in his rear pockets. Because that half inch of height savings would really make a difference on his 6’10” frame. The large dirty rubber/foam pieces hanging out of his pockets, brushing up against unsuspecting passerby’s & catching purses. As if that wasn’t bad enough, his idea of dancing was pretty much exaggerated hip thrusts. Even though I was standing about 3 feet behind him, his fucking sandals were still somehow able to brush up against me. If that wasn’t bad enough, he would lock his fingers behind his head, and position his elbows skyward, which only served to make his frame about 8′ tall now. As you can imagine, I really fucking hated this guy. We stayed there for about 4-5 songs before the urge to shank this giant became almost too much to resist.
So, we moved. And, found a spot more in the center of the stage, not blocked by any human giants. But, this afforded me a view of a different type of fan. We stood amongst three other couples. All dancing and singing at the top of their lungs… actually, only the men were singing at the top of their lungs. The women, were dancing and having a good time. And then, it happened. As ATE performed one of their hits (could have been “Changes,” but I don’t specifically remember right now), the three men began to embrace, jump up and down, and sing the song to each other, in some sign of homo-erotic frat boy solidarity. This behavior is inexplicable to me. It’s also one of the many reasons, I never joined a fraternity.
Meanwhile on the stage, ATE was crushing it. I have enjoyed their CD’s for quite some time. But, live… they are fucking great. They sounded polished. You could easily see them in some stadium like setting with a full blown light/effects show going on behind them. Instead, we were watching them in a venue that fits about 350 people. They plowed through a nice long set that included all of their hits & pretty much any song that any fan would know, leaving me to wonder what in the world they would play for their encore. Drea admitted she was surprised at how many songs she knew. She had just not realized who sang them.
Their encore started with 3/5 of the band playing a percussion beat, then kicking into a tune that rocked, but that I don’t think I recognized. They then covered The Clash’s “I Fought the Law,” Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire,” & a Johnny Cash tune (blanking on which one). Each song was set to their own pace, the Cash & Springsteen songs were sped up into rocking tunes, and the place went wild.
We had a great time, and I was glad Drea agreed/wanted to come along. She admitted to me, even before our first non-date, that live music wasn’t necessarily her thing. Yet, she has come along to a number of shows for bands that she did not really know (Spoon, Bim, & ATE stand out), because she knows how much I love it. I can’t really express how much that means to me.