by Jeff Niesel
Given that Passion Pit albums are essentially the work of only one person (frontman Michael Angelakos), it’s a marvel that the group even plays live at all. But Angelakos, who assembled a touring band shortly after writing the songs that would later become the band’s debut, Chunk of Change, has no trouble performing live. In fact, the synth-pop band has become such a solid live act that it now fills arenas in bigger cities. While we haven’t seen one of those shows, we suspect the band is best suited to the clubs where its concerts resemble dance parties. Last night before a capacity crowd at the Masonic Auditorium, the band delivered a rousing 80-minute set that again confirmed our suspicion. (The show was actually a make-up date in the wake of the cancellation of a concert slated to have taken place earlier this year.)
As the band kicked off the show with “I’ll be Alright,” Angelakos apologized for cancelling at the last minute earlier in the year. “We made it back,” he said to cheers from the audience. While the band would occasionally simmer down for mid-tempo ballads such as “Love is Greed,” it came off best when delivering up-tempo, catchy pop tunes such as “Take a Walk,” a song whose anthem of a chorus covers up lyrics that are about strife and poverty. Giant illuminated globes suspended from the ceiling helped accentuate the party-like atmosphere as did a blinding light show.
“Not My Fault” turned into a frenetic sing-a-long, and Angelakos strapped on a guitar for “Where I Come From” as audience members slowly waved their hands in the air to the mellow grooves as Angelakos capably sang falsetto. By the concert’s end, audience members jumped up and down in time with “Sleepyhead” and “Little Secrets,” the latter of which was played during the encore, and Angelakos appeared truly flattered. “We’re so fucking glad we came back,” he said. “It was worth it.”
Columbus-based Way Yes opened the show with a percussion set of atmospheric pop that came off a bit like Animal Collective, though the music wasn’t nearly as manic. Still, the guys sounded polished and sharp during a 30-minute set.