Concert Review: The Airborne Toxic Event at House of Blues


House of Blues has a policy against stagediving. But apparently no one bothered to tell the Airborne Toxic Event frontman Mikel Jollett, who was so animated at the start of last night’s 100-minute concert that he jumped off the stage and into the pit to slap high fives with audience members and let the crowd sing-a-long with him. Though it wasn’t nearly as epic, the show still had a Springsteen-like quality, especially when the band delivered a roots rock tune like “Changing.” When the band wasn’t channeling Springsteen, it evoked U2 on the rousing “Half of Something Else” and the set-closing “All at Once.”

Jollett is a good, old-fashioned front man who gave off a bit of a classic rock vibe as he switched instruments and regularly engaged the crowd. While there’s also something pretentious about his lyrics, which generally include references to life and death and the meaning of it all, he didn’t come off as a stiff on stage. He joked that everyone in one section of the crowd appeared to be quite drunk and he introduced “Storm” by saying that a heavy touring schedule inspired the song, which was about missing friends and family back home.

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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