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Posts Tagged ‘The Airborne Toxic Event’

There was a time when I thought of myself as a pretty big Airborne Toxic Event fan.  People who know me in my day-to-day life mock my TATE themed wallpapered cubicle and daily gushing about the music.  There have even been times where people referred to TATE as “my band”.  So when I got invited to the Super Secret TATE fan club, I thought my fan street cred hardened to rock solid.  I’d finally be amongst my people.  What I’ve discovered is I’m the tamest (maybe lamest) TATE fan there is.

I thought when I planned my multi-state trip a couple months ago that I was pretty hardcore.  I laugh at that now as I came to find out that they have LOTS of these types of fans.  In fact, I think their fans travel more than the band does.  Seriously, if there was a tracking of collective miles, the fans probably clocked in tens of thousands.  It’s shocking how far and how often fans trek to see concerts.  The people I met in Seattle had several shows under their belts from that tour leg.  My two show run paled in comparison in miles and time. One talented lady I’ve met from the super secret club went to three shows in three different states in the last month.  She logs 5,040 miles in roadtrips.  And that’s mapping direct lines to the shows. If that doesn’t come across as amazing and daunting, here is a picture.  (Heart represents home, notes are the shows.)

map2

And I haven’t even gotten to the seriousness of their love yet.  Not only do these fans travel, they research!  TATE fans are regularly pulling up interviews, songs, and videos from all over the place.  It’s almost a full-time job in digging up the fun facts.  Theoretically, I could throw out any TATE question and I bet one of their fans could answer it, cite the article, and relate it to a specific song in less than an hour.  They dissect lyrics, connotations, and even punctuation to get a complete experience behind the band’s songs.

Here’s the place where I’m seriously starting to question my fan card.  When I met up with G-Man Superfan at the Seattle show, I asked why he invited me to the super secret club.  Obviously these people are more serious than I.  I wait for his response to validate my TATE coolness.  Pass judgement on what task deemed me superfan-worthy.  I theorize it was my riveting interactions with Mikel.  Or maybe the insightly discussion around fiction that brought him to my Twitter handle.  Uh, no.

It was the cookies.  He didn’t follow the blog.  He didn’t read hours of entries about my TATE experiences.  And he certainly hadn’t come across one of those horrible pictures where there is a question as to if I’m human or not.  (I’m sure those would’ve scared him away.)  G-Man Superfan said I must have been a pretty big fan to make the cookies.  So easy, right?

I thought so at the time.  I joked I was their number one stalker when I iced Mikel’s smirk.  That was before.  Before I saw what a real fan can be.  Portland was intimidating.  I couldn’t approach the real fan’s tight-knit group.  In Seattle, I got brave.  (And drunker.)  What I found was they are music-loving.  Devoted.  Optomistic.  Faithful.  Honest.  Welcoming.  They accept others no matter what fan level you’ve reached.   G-Man Superfan documented my admiration “I think Susan is a bigger fan of the fans than she is of the band! 🙂 That’s cool – as I told my wife, groupies need groupies too!”

G-man Superfan is right.  I’m in awe of the TATE fans.  I love their devotion.  I enjoy listening to their heartfelt stories where the band made a significant impact on their lives.  Through music and lyrics they’ve formed a bond no distance will come between.  It’s a wonderous thing.  Something beautiful I was able to see for myself.

When I started to follow TATE I was impressed with their appreciation of their fans.  Now I’ve seen the other side of the coin and I’m just as impressed with the people who support their music.  TATE’s been good to them, don’t get me wrong.  But I wonder if TATE realizes how awesome these people really are.

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While watching The Shawshank Redemption for the millionth time (thanks to Hubs), I realized I’m no Andy Dufraine.  He took fanaticism to a whole new level with his writing campaign.  I have not had the same dedication compared to the man who wanted a library.  True, Andy had nothing better to do those many hours except for carving a hole to freedom and avoiding his rapists.  I’m only trying to get a band to my small town.  There might be something to be said for my stakes not being so high.  However, it does make me wonder if I have his same passion.

The most recent update on my campaign was after I returned from my TATE road trip, I wrote an email to their booking manager.  Only one email, you say?  Yes.  It was a well thought out email asking what are the qualifications for a place to host The Airborne Toxic Event.  No response.  His silence led to the decision to take it back to the band with a set of cookies to entice them my way.  Andy didn’t do that, did he?

There’s a fine line between a loyal fan and a crazed creeper.  Cookies walked this line very wearily.  How do you say “I made these cookies for you?” without coming off like Annie Wilkes?

Oh no, the straps are all huge in Europe right now.  The strapped to the bed just broke in Belgium. (Yes, that a Singles reference in 2013.)  Now let me get you those cookies.

I took an informal poll about how to do it.  I decided a tweet was the safest way.  I sent 140 characters asking where I could send a perishable gift inspired by the band.  No response.  I only sent it once because I’m very wary about being blocked, notified of restraining order, etc.   With hundreds of tweets a day, maybe mine was lost in the shuffle.  Or maybe it wasn’t.

Instead of being “that girl” by clogging up their tweet stream, I will put them here.  There’s already so much crazy in these pages and linked to Google, what’s a few cookies?  These were created after the band’s pics before they changed to  custom ones for each member.

cookiepics

I think I’m going to keep this up.  Maybe one day a cookie will actually reach my target the band.  And maybe they will even enjoy them.  It may not have the diligence of Andy Dufraine <“Oh Andy” in Morgan Freeman’s voice> but that doesn’t matter.  In the end, I may not have the governor granting me a library to shut me up, but I may bring some creative cookies to other fans who enjoy things like this.

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When we last left the great hair affair, BFF and I were loading up the car in Portland and headed to Seattle.  Deflated and frustrated from the events from the first night, I was determined not to repeat my mistakes.  I thought about where things went wrong.  Some things aren’t in my control like weather and opportunity.  In fact, the only thing I could control were my own actions.

The realization brought a freedom.  Why did I sacrifice my concert enjoyment for a hair memory which wouldn’t tell the right story anyways?  In my fantasy of this good hair picture, Mikel and I first make eye contact during Half of Something Else and use it as a callback when we meet after the show.  We laugh it up about what a great rock show the band put on.  The photo is only a glimpse into our deep-souled connection about everything we have in common and how we plan to maintain our long distance friendship.  This couldn’t start with the admission I hung out in the back of the room trying to protect my hair.  That’s not who I am.  I had to be in the mix.

BFF and I started our 250 miles of travel early.  This time I needed to get to the show with plenty of time to spare.  I needed to line up early to ensure a place near the stage.  Lucky for me, I was invited to an awesome TATE fan forum a few weeks prior to the show.  (I call them “the Super Secret Fan Club” when I speak to friends.)  They gave me the inside scoop to show up early, head to the bar, and buy drinks.  This scored you an early entry card.  Drinking?  Getting in early?  You didn’t have to tell me twice.

After taking us on a terrible detour because maybe I started that drinking a little earlier than the show, we made it to the right venue.  (Hey, there are two Showboxes in Seattle.  What’s up with that?)  We ran in straight for the bathroom.  I did however catch a glimpse of a familiar face from the Super Secret Fan Club.  In Portland, I was a chicken.  I hid in my bright pink shirt because I was too scared/worried/embarrassed/stupid to introduce myself.  Seattle brought a new resolve and new confidence.  When we returned to the bar, I marched right up to “G-man Superfan” and introduced myself.  This is what we call a turning point.  From that moment on, I had the time I knew I was meant to have.  G-man introduced me to others from the Super Secret Fan Club and it was a blast yucking it up with all the Airborne junkies.  I may have scared G-man a bit with my drinking loudness.  I definitely have more to say about the group, but I think that’s another blog.  From the front windows we caught sight of Drummer Daren.  G-man Superfan didn’t miss a beat.  He said “Let’s go get a picture” and we did.  (I didn’t post his to save his secret identity.)

Darren

BFF and I making a Darren sandwich.

Once we got into the concert side of the place, BFF and I headed right to the front.  (Note: G-man Superfan left our asses because he was in the pre-admission crowd.  Did I mention he is a superfan?)  When we picked our place we were lucky enough to squish up against some of the gals from the Super Secret Fan Club we met earliery.  They were more than cool about the lack of personal space.  One even offered to switch places with her friend to make sure I could see the stage better.  How nice is that?  The show was more than I expected by being the closest experience I’ve ever had at a TATE show.  I jumped.  I danced.  I sang.  All like no one was watching.  Hair be damned.  I lived the fucking rock show.

After all was done, and when the crowd crushed against the stage to get a piece of Mikel, I went the other way.  (Of course after shaking his hand.)  I think there was a part of me who gave up on the photo.  I didn’t need it anymore.  I had Noah’s pic, Darren’s drumstick, and a badass view of the whole thing.  The memory would suffice.

BFF and I hung towards the back and sucked down some glasses of water the bartender was nice enough to spare.  I’m pretty sure she worried we were on death’s door.  The crowd began to thin and Mikel still stood in the middle still posing for photos and signing autographs.  BFF said I should do it.  Get my photo with my jacked up hair.  I think she grimaced when she looked at it.

I did get the photo.  I took my piece to thank him for the show.  He smiled and charmed like he always does.  I floated away like most do after his interaction (he’s a very talented communicator).  The night was how it should’ve been.  It looked like this:

No, security did not recognize me from the last time.

No, security did not recognize me from the last time.

Hair destroyed.  Photo taken.  Resolution failed.  While I didn’t get the results I expected from this resolution, I got a lot more than intended.  Many lessons were learned in the experience and I’ve come out the other side with a more memorable gift than what a photo could’ve captured.

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A few short weeks ago, I posted about how I had no story on The Airborne Toxic Event’s Noah Harmon to go along with his cookie.  I should clarify, I don’t have “interesting “stories on any of the band members.  It’s more like awkward run-ins and Tourette like questions barfed at them in the few short seconds they make eye contact.  Armed with two shows to score some kind of interaction, I came back with a whole lotta love for the charismatic bassist.

On night two in Seattle, I crammed myself close to the right side of the stage designated for Noah.  This wasn’t entirely planned or by accident either.  I’ve been on Anna’s side before and while she is very entertaining, I wanted to mix it up a bit.  It didn’t hurt my position sat right under Mikel’s mic stand too.  It’s quite the feat to tear my eyes off of the gorgeous smile of the lead singer.  Mr. Harmon was going to have to bring something special.  And he did.  He stole my heart.

I think it was the champagne.  Mr. Harmon sauntered on stage with a champagne glass dangling from his fingers.  Not a bottle of water or a red kegger cup filled with a microbrew.  A glass of the bubbly.  Hmmm…I said to myself.  This is interesting.  And so I watched.  I watched all night while he played from this dark spot of the stage while Mikel worked the room.  I watched Mr. Harmon make eye contact with many of the fans and hang over the edge to pluck a strong baseline.  On small breaks, he’d glide to the back of the stage and sip again on that delicate edged glass.

Noah bounced around the stage with an infectious high energy.  He threw out his pics to all of us yearning for a small piece of memory.  I felt like a superhero when my hand shot up and I brought down one of those plastic triangles with their bird icon.  Invincible.  Even in the dark, I synced up with the rhythm of the room to capture my piece of the action.  And then it happened…

Eye contact.  Followed by a subtle smile.  (Insert the sound of my heart melting.)  A simple sign of appreciation that I had traveled eight hours, three hundred miles, and shelled out my year’s fun budget to watch the band do their thing.  It was all worth it for that moment.  The second I fell into instant-love.

I wanted to buy Noah another glass of champagne.  I wanted to make him bass shaped cookies.  I wanted to ask what’s his wife’s favorite thing so I could make her cookies, too.  (I am completely smittened by the fact I see a wedding ring on him every show.)  I wanted to thank him for the brief moment he probably forgot the second after it happened.

Unfortunately none of that happened.  I didn’t see him after the show.  No picture.  No autograph.  No champagne sipped together.  However, I did go away with this:

Noah

Noah

Dude in the glasses, I’m feeling it too.

Noah

Oh, Mikel who?

Noah

My favorite.

So there’s my Noah story.  But it’s not just mine.  He had the same impact on others.  Noah gave a head nod and flicked a pic to the three lovely ladies in front of me who followed the band for three shows.   He tried to arouse the young twenty year old next to me who looked to be in a coma the entire show.  (Why is it everyone under the age of 23 likes to stand around at a concert like they are too cool to dance?  Another blog topic for another day I guess.)  Another example comes from a Portland show tweet.

noah tweet

And there will probably be more and more as the tour continues.  I still hold out hope that one day I will be able to buy him that glass of champagne and thank him for the excellent show.  Until then, I guess I will have to be satisfied with a retweet and start working on some cookies.

Twitter Love

Who doesn’t want to be called “amazeballs”?

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Do you remember when MTV was cool?  They build up for weeks the promise of a “WORLD. PREMIER. VIDEO.”  We’d sit around in excited preparation waiting to watch the artistic interpretation of our favorite song from our favorite band.  Wait, you aren’t that old?  You only remember the MTV that doesn’t play music?  Oh, how times have changed.

Instead of the cool world turning animation and some VJ jumping around in over dramatized excitement, I’ve brought together the collection of all the cookies.  To celebrate the release of The Airborne Toxic Event’s Timeless video, I’d like to show the whole band together with the Timeless cover.  Enjoy the video and the cookies:

airborne timeless

Disclaimer:  If you want to judge the album cookie, please go to the post where I talked about how hard it was and give me a break.  Unless you are a member of the band.  If you are one of the five band members, go ahead, flick me your shit.

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Celebrating the release of The Airborne Toxic Event’s EP “The Secret”, we continue the cookiepalooza with our next band members.

While I may go on about Mikel from time to time, my love started with Anna.  It was at my first TATE concert in Seattle when I had the chance to meet her.  Several girls surrounded Mr. Jollett and I fell to the back with my pathetic flip phone.  It was my first experience of a band sticking around to talk to their fans.  I was smitten.  I wanted to dive back in to get my shot with him, but my co-worker waited in the back.  (I was on a business trip and I talked her into staying up our last night for a rock show.)  Alas, I had no one to take the picture.

With my head hung low, I sulked back to the co-worker and whined about how I’d never make it back through the circle of twenty-somethings tearing at the lead singer.  I sighed how it would’ve been great to see the violinist.  She stole the show in my mind when she climbed the rafters in a sequined formal dress.  She was the real rock star.

“Isn’t that her over there?” said co-worker.  My jaw dropped.  Standing towards the side with one fan was Anna the violinist.  With flip phone camera in hand I walked over and asked if I could get a picture.  Anna was pleasant and cordial while she posed.  I thanked her profusely when I checked the photo only to find the picture was blurry.  I asked for another and she didn’t even bat an eyelash.  If you want to see another disastrously sweaty picture of me with TATE, check it out.

The cookie was piped before I checked out her new blonde locks.  I still would’ve gone for the brown because she looks incredible in the Numb video, which is my absolute favorite.  I love her cookie the most.

anna

Anna inspired from the Numb video.

I’m surprised Noah the bassist is the one I have the least to tell about.  Somewhere in my history of photos I have a shot of Hubs and Noah talking when he scored me the band’s autographs from the Portland show.  (Hubs is great like that.)  Maybe this time I’ll hunt him down just so I have something more to write than “he was nice.”

I can tell you I hope his eyes are blue.  Some shots I saw looked blue as the sky and others had me doubting.  If by chance you are a huge Noah fan and know his eye color, please let me know.  They don’t have that kind of thing listed on Wikipedia.

Nice Noah.  That's all I got.

Nice Noah. That’s all I got.

You know who’s coming next, right?

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Let’s meet The Airborne Toxic Event, shall we?  Of course I don’t have real interviews with the band members.  Instead, I’ve opted for the next best thing by recreating them in cookies.  In place of helpful facts where you would learn something about each of them, I’m going to fill it with random bits from my concert experiences.

We start with the drummer, Daren Taylor.  The one thing I can say about him is he rocks a ‘stach like nobody’s business.  That’s my favorite look for him so even though he shaved it off in recent looks, his cookie still wears it.  At the Sacramento show, I chatted with Daren briefly.  (This was before I made a fool out of myself by stalking around waiting for Mikel.)  I was sweaty, exhausted, and an overall mess.  That is why you will never see the picture of it!

daren

Daren Taylor rocks sticks and ‘staches

In our brief moments Daren had a toothpick trapped between his teeth.  In my normal intoxicated wit, I asked if it was a cinnamon toothpick.  He replied “yes.”  I went on to inform him I hadn’t seen one of those since I was in eighth grade; a time where everyone I knew walked around with a stick hanging out of our mouths.  He politely asked if I wanted one and I said yes.

The next day I realized this might not have been the best impression to make.  He certainly didn’t say “You like cinnamon toothpicks too?  Let’s have beers.”  Maybe next time I’ll have some witty cinnamon toothpick banter to pique his interest in having those beers after all.

steven

Steven Chen

Steven is the lead guitarist and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him speak a word.  I’ve watched a few TATE interviews.  Steven usually nods his head and chuckles if someone cracks an inside joke.  He seems like a very nice person and I was deathly afraid of fucking up his cookie.  More to the point, I worried about messing up the ethnicity.

I spent three hours working on eyeballs.  When I finally thought I got the right shape of the eyeball matched with a normal size iris, I thought my problems were over.  Until I started to work on everyone else in the band.  Now their eyes didn’t look right.  I tried putting lids on the first one (Anna) and she came out looking like Peg Bundy.  I cursed my way back to square one.

The compromise was colored dots for everyone.  So if you were scoffing at the fact his eyes were round when Steven is Asian?  Uh yeah, fuck you.  (Because did you read that part where I spent THREE HOURS?)  The colored dot is the iris.  And everyone’s irises are round.  Plus, it’s a COOKIE!

Anna and Noah are next…

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