Have you ever been so early to a show that you caught the opener’s entire set, even though you really only went for the headliner? Was the opener someone you had never heard of before? Was their music so boringly mediocre that you almost wanted to leave and come back when they were done? It’s a miserable feeling, having paid for a ticket to stand in front of a band that is actively making you more bored than you would be if you weren’t watching them. You kind of want to sit down on the floor and see if you can take a nap.
Fortunately, this wasn’t the case for the show at the Electric Factory Oct. 3, headlined by The Airborne Toxic Event and opened by In the Valley Below. Well, it’s true that I had no idea who the opener was, but they were surprisingly good. Fronted by the tall, dark and brooding duo, Jeffrey Jacob and Angela Gail, the band sounded like Lana Del Ray joined forces with a tamer, more depressed, less nasal Foster the People (in a good way). The band originally gained a little notice on the Internet with their song “Peaches,” off their debut LP “The Belt,” which was released this past summer. Haunting, soothing and catchy, the song shares the same vibe with the rest of the songs on the LP without sounding too much like different variations of the same music.
A good example of this variation would be the song they opened with, titled “Stand Up.” The pace is a little more upbeat, but it is still riddled with catchy vocal harmonies and a killer dark synth-bass line. The crowd was responsive and intrigued from the first song, but what took the cake was definitely the moment Gail took out a chain and started using it as maraca for the song “Searching for a Devil.” Seeming possessed, she gazed into the back of the crowd and rhythmically shook the chains up and down without breaking eye contact with a presumably half-frightened, half-extremely-aroused crowd member. It was creepy and hot at the same time.
When The Airborne Toxic Event took to stage, our ears were well-primed and our expectations were high. They started with the fast paced rocker “Welcome to Our Wedding Day,” and we remembered why we came to see them. You can always tell crowd members are engaged when they start getting really snobby about letting anyone get closer than them to the stage. Halfway through the set, front-man Mikel Jollett decided to go on an adventure and climbed one of the speakers to the ledge of the upper VIP deck. “Sorry, I’m trying to play a rock show, I can’t kiss you lady,” he said as everyone in the crowd really hoped he didn’t fall and crush somebody.
My girlfriend and I made a bet on when they would play “Sometime around Midnight.” Let’s be honest, it’s not like they wouldn’t play it. She guessed third-to-last song, and I guessed somewhere in the first few songs or in the encore. By golly, she was right. It was either blind-luck or devil black-magic sorcery. Either way, it was really good. You could tell the band still loved playing it, and the crowd sure still loved hearing it. Everyone left happy.