Big Ass Show performer spotlight: The Airborne Toxic Event
Published: August 22, 2013 10:08AM
Updated: August 22, 2013 10:12AM
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The Los Angeles-based rock band The Airborne Toxic Event is named after part of the book “White Noise” by Don DeLillo. The band released its third album, “Such Hot Blood,” earlier this year and has spent time recently playing shows with symphony orchestras. It’s a nod to the orchestral nature of the band’s work.
Lead singer Mikel Jollett said that while he enjoys playing in front of orchestras, “There’s no vamping, and I’m a vamper.”
The band’s most successful singles include “Changing” and the breakthrough “Sometime Around Midnight,” iTunes’ No. 1 alternative song of 2008. The narrative style comes in part from Jollett’s background as a writer and editor. Before becoming a musician, he earned an undergraduate degree from Stanford University.
“It was a weird place to be a musician,” Jollett said of school, sometimes referred to as the Harvard of the West. “Most people were pre-med, doctors, scientists.”
As a student of the arts, he felt out of place at the Palo Alto campus. “I didn’t fit in there,” he said. “Everyone wanted to win. I didn’t care about winning.”

X96 Big Ass Show
With • Panic! At the Disco, Ed Kowalczyk (formerly of Live), The Airborne Toxic Event, Blue October, Capital Cities, Family of the Year, Pepper, The Dear Hunter, Brogan Kelby, Codi Jordan Band, Solarsuit
When • Saturday, 1 p.m.
Where • Gallivan Center, 239 S. Main St., Salt Lake City
Tickets • $25 in advance, $30 day of, at SmithsTix