The Airborne Toxic Event hadn’t played in Chicago since Riot Fest in 2015. Suffice it to say, the audience was very excited for them to return The lead singer, Mikel Jollett, is also very excited to be back on tour and out of the room he stayed in for two years.
The first song of the night is the title track from their latest album, Hollywood Park. Mikel Jollett also released a memoir about his life with the same title. It details his growing up in the Church of Synanon, a violent religious cult, and his eventual escape. This New York Times Bestseller is available on Libby for those with a Chicago Library Card.
In the middle of the set, they play “Changing”. Jollet sings “You were just always talking about changing, changing. Guess what I am the same man, same man.” It’s an infectiously catchy song with great lyrics that showcase his writing talent.
When the violin starts on “Sometime Around Midnight”, the audience cheers. With over 35 million streams on Spotify, this is their biggest hit. This heart-breaking song about running into an ex at a bar is absolutely beautiful. It captures the emotions of that moment so perfectly and it builds expertly to the climactic moment. After they finish, the audience responds with a deafening loud standing ovation.
Song after song are filled with great lyrics and are played enthusiastically. See the full setlist here.
The opener Mondo Cozmo was also excellent. Check out “Shine”.
Cost of a ticket: $27.50 plus fees
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It +
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother