Those who know me know I have been semi-following a band name “The Airborne Toxic Event.” I’m not a big music person anymore. The last concert I went to see was either Phil Collins Sussidio tour or the Genesis tour after that. I forget.
Discovery of the band happened one evening when there was nothing on the satellite dish. I turned on the Audience Channel (or whatever DirecTV was calling it then) and they were running footage from SXSW. There were some interviews I mindlessly absorbed while drinking Chardonnay and then they cut to this band coming on stage called “The Airborne Toxic Event.” With a name like that I was expecting a Death Metal band, but they didn’t “look” Death Metal. I also wouldn’t pick a violin or base cello as instruments for a Death Metal band. Intrigued I watched on.
The band opened with “Wishing Well.” There was Anna with her violin, eyes closed, lost in the strings and the sound, taking center stage and owning it. Okay. I’ll listen to more. “Wishing Well” was just the setup. The knock-out punch was “Some Time Around Midnight.”
Okay. I’m officially a fan. Hopefully you will watch that video and pay attention to Anna putting body English on the keyboard to coax just the right sound out of it.
In my bar hopping youth I saw quite a few bands with great talent. They all had one flaw in common. Some member that felt compelled to holler out “wooh!” or “yeah!” several times during every song. Those bands never went anywhere. This was and still is a professional band. The following morning, if not that evening, I went online and ordered all their CDs.
Flash forward a few years. I find myself in Ohio and the band is going to appear somewhere around Columbus. I didn’t hesitate. I bought tickets. I was a bit befuddled why there was no seat assignment. It was far from where I was, so I booked a hotel room. When I finally got to the concert hall, I understood why I had no seat assignment. There were no seats. This was one of those college dive concert halls where the floor is sticky even after they finish mopping it.
The opening act was some band called “Leagues.” A three piece thing. They weren’t bad. A man with an ass that big should not wear tight red leather pants on stage though. I think the entire audience needed therapy after seeing that!
Then came the band we all came to see. The stage was tiny yet Anna managed to be captivating, eyes closed, lost in the strings and the sound. Pure pirate’s treasure. The videos above can only convey some of the stage presence this band has. Nothing in the way of the Hollywood special effects you see with big names today; yet they can still transport an audience.
A really great band doesn’t play for the crowd. They play for the truth in the music and song. If you are really lucky, you get to go along for the ride.
There were two rather hot bi women talking to me during the band change. We continued drinking during the concert and chatting during the occasional break. I never did find out if they managed to get drunk enough to hit on Anna; not that I really need to know. I’m a writer after all. I can come up with a much better story than reality.
The band kind of went quiet for some years and those of us over fifty don’t mess with social media. I managed to hear about “Hollywood Park” and ordered the disk. While I was playing it I visited the Web site and started reading all of the news entries. One of the reasons was I didn’t really hear Anna on this album, at least not as much as I played. My worst fears were confirmed.
She will be sorely missed.
I do hope that her journey brings her back to the band one day. I really do. She has a stage presence that is just magic. Some people just have a gift. They walk on stage and you are drawn to them. Most of us can walk on a stage and if our feet don’t make noise people don’t even know were are there.