Ed. Note: Each Tuesday for five weeks, we’re gearing up for The Airborne Toxic Event’s upcoming residency at San Francisco’s Fillmore (Sept. 18-20) with a series of posts to whet our collective appetite. See last week’s post for 10 Highlights We Can’t Wait For at the Fillmore.
As a parent, I’ve noticed a disheartening phenomenon. It seems like the more I give my kids, the more they want.
You’d think they’d be grateful for what we work so hard to provide for them. And sometimes they are – for a few hours, or a day, or even a week. But inevitably there comes a day when they come home from school and tell me how their friend’s _______ is so much better than theirs,
patiently explaining exactly why they need more.*
The Airborne Toxic Event can relate.
You see, no sooner did they announce their intention to play their three studio albums in full on consecutive nights in San Francisco than fans began to clamor for the b-sides, rarities and deep cuts that we desperately hope they’ll add to the agenda.
You’d think we’d be grateful for what the band is working so hard to give us: by my count, 11 rarely-to-almost-never played tracks from their previous albums, with the tantalizing promise of new tunes to boot. Add in the fact that new bassist Adrian Rodriguez has to familiarize himself with all the band’s material, new and old, and that some favorites will have to be rearranged in light of Noah Harmon’s departure from the group, and it’s clear that these five musicians have bitten off a lot as it is.
But, we fans are greedy that way. What’s better than 11 songs we never get to hear? How about 12, or 15, or 20?
In all seriousness, it would not surprise me or disappoint me in the least if the remainder of the set each night is filled out with familiar standards, and nary a b-side is heard. Any way you slice it, this is going to be a dream come true for any TATE fan.
But just for one day, I’m putting on my selfish brat hat and pondering my wish list. With apologies to “The Winning Side” and “Duet,” here are five songs I’d kill to see for the first time at The Fillmore.
5. A Letter to Georgia
“A Letter to Georgia” was The Airborne Toxic Event’s first true ballad – and the bar against which every subsequent one measures itself. Elegant and poetic, “Georgia” is an understated, underplayed fan favorite that occupies many Airborne enthusiasts’ live performance bucket lists.
4. Echo Park
If the band truly intends to plumb the depths of their history, they could take it a step further by pulling out this never-released fan favorite. Last played in 2012 at the legendary Wounded Warrior Benefit at the Troubador, “Echo Park,” would be a nod to the many long-time TATE fans making the pilgrimage to San Francisco – and an eye-opening revelation to newer fans who may not be familiar with it.
3. Wrong/My Childish Bride
“Wrong” and “My Childish Bride” are stand-ins for whatever new music the band intends to bestow upon us at The Fillmore. The previously performed “Dope Machines” and “California” would seem to be shoe-ins, but with a new album looming this fall, it seems safe to assume that more tracks will be unveiled in San Francisco. The band confirmed “Wrong” as a song title for Album 4 in a recent interview, while “My Childish Bride” was referred to by Mikel in an extended interview with Darren Rose Radio.
2. This Losing
Musically, “This Losing” is one of The Airborne Toxic Event’s most arresting compositions. And though it has been played more than most of their b-sides, I’ve yet to be in the right place at the right time to catch it. I’m not sure I will be this time, either, as it would require a major reworking without Noah, who teamed with Anna Bulbrook to create the signature symphony-in-the-middle-of-a-rock-song moment that makes this number such a standout.
1. The Way Home
I’ve written elsewhere about how much this song means to me personally: more than any other in the Airborne catalog, to put it plainly. I’m not expecting this never-before-played b-side to crack the setlist on Such Hot Blood night… but if it does, there will be at least one wildly ecstatic TATE fan in the house.
*Disclaimer: My kids are actually pretty awesome, and not at all as ungrateful as I’ve portrayed them here (usually). But you know… sometimes a writer’s gotta make a point.
Glen is the founder and editor of This Is Nowhere. He’s grateful for an understanding wife and kids who indulge his silly compulsion to chase a band all over the Pacific Northwest (and occasionally beyond) every time the opportunity arises.