Passion Pit at First Avenue, 10/29/12

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen
Passion Pit
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Monday, October 29, 2012

Passion Pit's show last night at First Avenue was a thing of beauty. The sold-out crowd was filled with nothing short of boundless joy as lead singer Michael Angelakos' infectious, synth-driven pop songs taunted them into an all-out dance party. On surface-level, this is exactly what you would expect from cheery electro-pop.

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For a man with such a sad story, and whose songs carry such dark themes, Angelakos' on-stage demeanor was unmatched in energy and brightness: he pounced around the stage, swinging the microphone by its cord, shouting lyrics with, well, passion. Dressed in a tie and a button-up shirt (soaked through with sweat by the end of the night), and with a full crown of his trademark bouffant hairstyle, Angelakos looked something like a caricature come to life. Considering Angelakos' troubled history and the handful of cancelled tour dates back in July (so that Angelakos could work on his "mental health"), the show last night might be viewed as something of a personal triumph.

Photos by Anna Gulbrandsen

The set started out with the band's debut single "Take a Walk" from their sophomore album Gossamer, and it couldn't have been a more appropriate way to get things going. Everything from the dynamic lights show to the throbbing keys gave a celebratory feel to the evening. Angelakos pulled the darkest songs off Gossamer and sung them with an enthusiastic smile -- this is the sort of juxtaposition that Passion Pit music lives on.

"We all have problems/We're all having problems/And we all got something to say," sings on "Carried Away," and the audience -- responding mostly to the lighthearted melody, perhaps -- is suddenly closer to Angelakos, closer to understanding him.

On the ballad-like "Constant Conversations," Angelakos' childlike, bubblegum vocals match the soaring keyboard melodies, and it might be in this subtle, underappreciated track that lies Passion Pit's greatest accomplishment. As Angelakos paints a cold domestic picture that, we know, is a true story, he touches on the distinctly human ability to be broken and self-aware at the same time: "I never wanna hurt you baby/I'm just a mess with a name and a price."

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