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Passion Pit At The Greek Theatre: Review

Sivani |
October 27, 2013 | 11:56 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Passion Pit killed it at the Greek Theatre on Friday. (Sivani/Neon Tommy)
Passion Pit killed it at the Greek Theatre on Friday. (Sivani/Neon Tommy)
As Passion Pit hit the Greek Theatre stage last Friday night, the cold night air seemed to almost recede as it was overpowered by the warm, bright melody of the very the song that opened the band’s first full-length album, “Manners,” four years ago.

“Make Light” now reverberated through the huge theatre, inducing the crowd to a swiftly escalating cheer as the lead singer, Michael Angelakos, entered the stage. 

READ MORE: Hot Chip, Passion Pit Light Up The Hollywood Bowl

The audience was no doubt primed and ready for Passion Pit’s colorful, lively spectacle after the solid, more subdued rocker tunes performed by the opening act, The Joy Formidable - an alternative rock outfit hailing from North Wales, consisting of members Rhiannon Bryan, Rhydian Dafydd Davies and Matthew James Thomas.

As Passion Pit brought the first song to a close, the audience erupted in screams and whistles. Michael could be seen smiling faintly, standing center stage and looking smart in a black suit jacket and checkered tie. Surrounding him were the other members Ian Hultquist, Jeff Apruzzese and Xander Singh, all of whom delivered flawless, impassioned performances throughout the night.

The band did a brilliant job with bringing the songs to life onstage. (Sivani/Neon Tommy)
The band did a brilliant job with bringing the songs to life onstage. (Sivani/Neon Tommy)
The band wasted no time in launching into the next tune, “The Reeling.” As the trippy synth intro lead into the first chorus, the audience happily obliged to Michael’s outstretched mike, loudly vocalizing the irresistible, sinking lament, “oh no-o-o-o-o, oh no-o-o-o-o.”

From this the band launched into “Carried Away,” a spirited, up-beat track from their second and latest full-length effort from last year, “Gossamer.” This was followed up by the slower, reproachful number, “It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy.”

“Holy shit,” Michael Angelakos exclaimed at this point, instantly endearing himself further to the crowd. “We’re playing the Greek Theatre.” 

Lead Michael Angelakos was a whirl of energy onstage. (Sivani/Neon Tommy)
Lead Michael Angelakos was a whirl of energy onstage. (Sivani/Neon Tommy)
Next came “Mirrored Sea” – a punchy and percussive song from “Gossamer” that swelled satisfyingly into the thumping chorus as Michael’s airy, high-pitched vocals soared over the steady drumbeat.

He picked up a guitar for the next tune, “To Kingdom Come.” The thoughtful, wandering riff mingled with the warbling synth to bring the atmosphere of the enormous theatre to something more intimate. 

READ MORE: Passion Pit Fails To Shine On "Gossamer"

From here the band went into the R&B style hit, “Constant Conversations,” where the crowd took over once more for the lengthy chorus sighs. This might have been the only minor disappointment of the night – a slight strain on Michael’s voice could be picked up during the pre-choruses, and his decision to let the audience sing out the swooning chorus every time, while engaging, may have also taken away the punch from the best part of the song.

However, this is Passion Pit, after all – and the show quickly took another turn for the better as the band continued into another song of similar vein, “Cry Like a Ghost.” Just like the last song, this utilized the same sensual sample vocals that are present on the album versions of the tracks - and these chipmunked female tones wonderfully complemented the breezy notes of the lead singer. 

“Eyes as Candles,” another song from the first album, roused the crowd to an exultant delirium as everyone joined in for the simple, peppy chorus phrase. “Where I Come From” then slowed things down again, allowing Michael’s voice to really shine on the sustained high notes of the repeated refrain, “I think we'll be alright.”

Xander Singh of Passion Pit on the keyboard. (Sivani/Neon Tommy)
Xander Singh of Passion Pit on the keyboard. (Sivani/Neon Tommy)
This then allowed for the perfect segue into the next song, “I’ll Be Alright.” A fuzzy synth tone washed over the theatre and rang through the air, filling the theatre with a palpable zing of anticipation - and after a few moments of build-up, the crashing of drums lead into the zippy, high-energy tune.

“I don’t know how this is on the radio,” admitted Michael as the opening synth buzzes and twinkles of “Take A Walk” began to play – as indeed, the song does currently grace the radio due to being part of the soundtrack for recently released horror flick “Carrie”. His disbelief likely stems from the subject matter of the track, as it focuses on his older family’s immigration to America and subsequent fall to capitalism – its unintentionally political undertones make it unusual next to typical radio fare.

As the chants of “Take A Walk” melted into cheers and applause, the spacey electro trill and opening strings of  “Where We Belong” started up. This introspective ballad - accentuated by a deep, restless drumbeat - acted as the album closer for “Gossamer.” It now evoked a tugging feeling of sentimentality in the audience members as we all came to the realization that the concert wouldn’t last forever – and our evening with Passion Pit was quickly drawing to an end.

Michael holds out the mic, inviting the audience to sing along. (Sivani/Neon Tommy)
Michael holds out the mic, inviting the audience to sing along. (Sivani/Neon Tommy)
 And what an end it was.

The band ended their set with the dreamy “Sleepyhead,” a nostalgic throwback to the song that was their first ever single. The crowd clapped along the whole while, and dissolved into hoarse cheers as the song concluded and the band said their farewells, swiftly exiting the stage. Of course, we all knew better than to think this was it – there was still the encore, and even though some claim that planned encores ruin the sacred spontaneity of the act, in the heat of the moment it was just nice to know that our Passion Pit experience wasn’t quite over yet.

Michael commanded attention with his soulful vocal performance. (Sivani/Neon Tommy)
Michael commanded attention with his soulful vocal performance. (Sivani/Neon Tommy)
The encore rounded up the show with two older songs from “Manners”: “Moth’s Wings” and “Little Secrets.” The first, “Moth’s Wings,” was the most emotional song of the night; as the measured drumbeat of the verse fell away into the stripped down, lingering notes of the chorus, a theatre filled to the brim with nearly 6000 people was held in captivation. The soulful anthem with its haunting keyboard melody was somehow able to rouse feelings of both hope and gentle despair, all at once – it was a song that truly outdid its recorded version in the live arena.

And at last, Passion Pit brought the show to a delightful finish with “Little Secrets.”

The infectious ditty ended the Friday night in an appropriately jubilant spirit; as the band took leave of the stage and the audience began to reluctantly filter out, the mantra “higher and higher and higher” continued to echo in my head for the remainder of the night. 

This was my first Passion Pit show, and my only complaint would be this: I didn’t want it to end. In fact, the first thing I did upon returning home was curl up on my bed, earphones in, with Passion Pit on full blast – longing to relive the experience all over again.

Read more of NT's show reviews here.

Reach Staff Reporter Sivani here.



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