Passion Pit at TCF Bank Stadium, 9/27/13

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Tony Nelson
Passion Pit

Passion PIt
With Hoodie Allen
TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
September 27, 2013

It's hard to think of a band better suited for a college show than Passion Pit. On the surface level, their energetic dance pop is the perfect soundtrack for a party with 10,000 people, which is basically what Friday's homecoming show was. They also have the advantage of having come to prominence while most of the current crop of students were in high school, giving them that aura of musical importance and emotional impact gained from getting to know a band when you're 16 that can't be replicated any other way.

See also: Slideshow: Passion Pit at TCF Bank Stadium, 9/27/13

Photo by Tony Nelson
Hoodie Allen

They also capture something else about college: sometimes, it's really hard -- and I'm not talking about academics. As the first (quasi) independent time in most students' lives, college is filled with the stress that comes from realizing who you and how that person relates to other people. Though it sometimes really does feel like the best years of your life, it can also feel like being lost in the middle of the entire world. Passion Pit gets at this feeling too -- beneath the bright lights and colors of synth grooves, most of their lyrical content is profoundly sad, dealing with both internal turmoil and difficulties in finding connections outside of yourself. Friday's show at times struggled to express this duality, but on the whole Passion Pit give the U of M exactly what it needed to start the year on a good note.

Before Passion Pit took the stage to dance through sadness, Hoodie Allen got the crowd feeling like a frat party. Hoodie brings rap that is simultaneously very lyrical and very easy to understand. His flow is uncomplicated; his wordplay, though sometimes clever, is never cryptic; and his subject matter never veers far from that of your typical 20-something bro-about-town -- girls, parties, the occasional joint. Think Asher Roth and Gym Class Heroes. Though he isn't my red solo cup of tea, I have to give credit where it's due -- his music is a lot of fun, and he put on a great set.

The crowd either knew his lyrics much better than you would expect them to, given his status as an East Coast indie rapper, or were drunk enough to pretend they did. The "Cake Boy" line "Minnesota women show me Love like I was Kevin" went over particularly well for obvious reasons. At times, it seemed like the football game had started early, with Goldy Gopher hopping on stage and spinning his head and Hoodie leading chants of "We Hate Iowa." After leading the audience in throwing their middle fingers up to "the assholes you left behind in high school" during "18/cool," he ignored the cut-off and played all of "No Interruptions" after his set was supposed to end.

Photo by Tony Nelson
Hoodie Allen and Goldy Gopher

Passion Pit's stage and light show are still reminiscent of the cover of their first EP, Chunk of Change, with the geometric spheres and splashes of primary colors. The primary visual element of the show was frontman Michael Angelakos. What he did couldn't be called dancing, exactly, but it met dancing's goal of capturing the feeling of music with body movements fairly perfectly. You could see the power and emotion he was pouring into every note -- this was clearly not a phoned-in performance.

That's good, because sometimes it was difficult to actually hear him. Angelakos's vocals are somehow higher live than they sound on records, and though this worked well with the arrangements of synths and keyboards as a musical element, the sound mix made it difficult to make out the lyrics in many of the songs, strongly favoring the drums and bass. I understand the reasoning behind this -- it's homecoming and people came to dance and have a good time. Making sure the groove is right is probably more important than making sure the deep pain in a lot of the lyrics comes across at all times. Overall, the set was tight, coming in at just under an hour including encore and not deviating too much from album arrangements.

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