It was as hot as a fire pit full of hipsters Sunday night at The Mann. The Passion Pit
show drew an audience ranging from white-bread parents to acne-prone tweens to flamboyant cool kids to Penn's beer drinking bros. Basically, a ton of white people trying to get crazy.
, a young trio, uses guitar, bass, drums and a pair of keyboards to cultivate a Euro-pop-type sound. If you didn't know better, listening to their brand of electronic dance beats, you'd think you were in some neon, techno club in Germany. Live, the band is easy to tune out; they an unremarkable opener who ended their tour with Passion Pit and Tokyo Police Club
Tokyo Police Club kicked off a night that showcased unique male voices. Lead singer and bassist David Monks
vocals are full of oxymorons: whiney but full, femme but deep, nerdy but so cool. Starting with "Favourite Food
" from sophomore album, Champ
(Mom + Pop Music Co.), TPC began with a swaying sweetness, building to a frenzied energy. "Nature of the Experiment
" and "Be Good
" highlight guitairist Josh Hook
's shredding high fret skills. To get the crowd dancing in the breezeless heat, the Ontario natives played "Tessallate
," off debut album Elephant Shell
(Saddle Creek), an audience favorite with a hook that can't help but you make you smile. "Clap!" Monk ordered in the intro to "Citizens of Tomorrow
." "Or just fan yourself rhythmically." "Wait Up (Boots of Danger)
" uses vocal "oohs" that sound like a slide whistle fresh not '50s retro. To close the short-but-sweet set, TPC played the jangling, hip-shaking, "Your English Is Good
" from their debut to a pleased, sweaty crowd.
After about 45 minutes of guzzling beverages, standing, seat hopping and desperately trying to keep cool, the house went to black and Passion Pit finally took the stage in a cloud of mist and deep red lights. They opened with "I've Got Your Number
" from debut and anniversary present to frontman Michael Angelakos
' now ex-girlfriend Chunk of Change
EP. The live versions of Passion Pit's songs take on a different level of intensity: In concert, Angelakos' energy is higher, feeding off the audience. He manages to hit each note in his signature, unflinching falsetto with ease. "There are a lot of you out there," says Angelakos, truly amazed by the size of the Philly venue, the largest they've played yet. "The last time we played here it was in the basement of that church, right?" he says laughing, referencing First Unitarian Church, which pales in comparison to the open-air Mann.
Throughout the show, Angelakos showed what a humble, endearing guy he is as in awe of his newly-found fanbase as they are of his music, "This is so fucking awesome," he marvels at one point, squinting into the crowd. While fans in the pit plead to hear various tracks, he jokes, "Nope. No singles tonight. B-sides only." Then the scrim is backlit to reveal the colorful cover art from Manners
(Frenchkiss Records) and the band launches into "Better Things
" with its pounding, tribal percussion and sing-a-long chorus.
Another track that picks up new energy live is "Folds in Your Hands
," a decidedly more bitter track than Passion Pit's other puppy-love tunes, has a dueling synth/keys battle onstage as the song gains momentum. While the band paused to fix some technical difficulties possibly brought on by the thick humidity, a fan in the front row handed Angelakos a $20 bill "a tip," the adoring fan said. After insisting he couldn't possibly take the money, without "feeling like a whore," he dedicated the next song to, "...the kid who tips!" Money wasn't the only thing thrown on stage: A fuschia bra was sling-shot from the pit, which Angelakos stared at open-mouthed, perhaps truly grasping his transition from dorm room musician to electro-rock god.
The night closed with the much-desired "Sleepyhead
," with Angelakos conducting the chorus of singing fans. But perhaps even more of a show stopper was the chant-worthy "Little Secrets
," the last song played before the encore. What makes Passion Pit such a great live act besides their dance hooks, pitch perfect vocals, seizure inducing light show and collaborative musical talents is Angelakos ability to control the crowd. When he claps they clap, when he laughs they laugh and when he dances ... well, you get the idea. He unifies the audience, turning the concert into a monstrous dance party well worth the price of admission. Plus tips.