The Barfly, Camden
Life seems to have dealt Mikel Jollett a fairly tough hand each time he decides to put an album out. Before the release of their first self-titled album The Airborne Toxic Event front man had a string of tragedies including a break up and the diagnosis of some pretty serious illnesses. Now with the release of All At Once (which was released on April 25th) he is dealing with 4 family bereavements and the breakdown of another relationship. This however only seems to spur on a heartfelt and intense performance in an intimate and slightly sweaty setting. The Los Angeles based band has embarked on a string of shows throughout London that represent their history in the city. Staring at the home of their first UK appearance The Dublin Castle, their shows take them to Kings Collage Student Union, Koko and here, The Barfly. It's clear that the audience are of the more hardcore fan variety, as moving is seriously impeded by the amount of flesh crammed into the tiny upstairs room and every word that leave Mikel's lips, is mirrored with as much enthusiasm from the crowd as it drips from the stage.
Their set comprises as much new material as crowd pleasers from their first album, second up is Gasoline and an introduction from Jollett describing them as Camden's house band, which to be fair, for this week they pretty much are. Welcome To Your Wedding Day and Numb are hints that there's a good chance All At Once will avoid the difficult second album curse, but with sure fired hits like Sometime Around Midnight to contend with, this could be harder than expected. The band finish with a combination of Missy broken in two by half, a cover of Panic by The Smiths and leave a warm first floor room in Camden satisfied that, despite recent tragedies, the future looks good for Mikel Jollett and The Airborne Toxic Event.
Words: Ben Welling