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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, October 2

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Review Fri Apr 23 2010

Review: Passion Pit @ Congress, 4/22

Passion PIt 3.jpg

Passion Pit at the Congress Theater (Photos by Sandor Weisz)

Passion Pit has officially blown up. Two sold out shows at the cavernous Congress have a tendency to solidify popularity like that. The first was in the midst of their current tour and Thursday's was sandwiched between Indio's Coachella and Vanderbilt's Rites of Spring. It must seem like a lifetime ago that they played Schubas and the Empty Bottle. Their ridiculously catchy electronic pop music has certainly caught on with the masses by now. The synth-pop ode Manners won over plenty, but countless more owe liking Passion Pit to their live shows. It's due to their frenetic energy on stage, the pure elation reached in anthemic choruses, the pulsating thumps and Michael Angelakos' terrific falsetto. (It's not hard to imagine that this is Hot Hot Heat in a parallel universe.)

Passion Pit 1.jpg

However, on Thursday, it was clear that Passion Pit is tired. They have been touring the world almost non-stop for a year. Their stage presence was pennies on the dollar compared to Lollapalooza last summer and Angelakos' vocals are currently shot. But, luckily, they still have those glorious songs. The audience didn't seem to mind the band going through the motions much of the night as they greeted each tune with wild applause and general pandemonium. The thousands who filled the Congress' floor pogoed, crowdsurfed and one kid even made it past security onto the stage. (I thought I was at a Morrissey show for a second.) Only with the Strokes at their Is This It? peak have I seen a band get so much from an audience by doing so little. Without their best performance on hand, Passion Pit had to rely on the strength of their music. Their lack of excitement was made up for by emphasizing accessible melodies and soaring heights in choruses, which the crowd was only too happy to join in on, especially when Angelakos couldn't quite hit the highs. Sometimes showgoers needs to take on a little extra responsibility to make a show great and Thursday's were definitely up for the task. A huge ovation for "The Reeling" and an encore of "Sleepyhead" closed out the night just minutes before curfew. Hopefully, the band will get some rest before returning on July 4.

Smith Westerns opened with an encouraging set showing that they're well on their way to overcoming the nerves that sometimes kept them from reaching their potential live even just six months ago. Their lo-fi glam-rock sound is primed to explode one of these days.

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tankboy / April 23, 2010 4:10 PM

I am so glad I saw them play the Hard Rock lounge after Lollapalooza because judging by the crowd swarming through my neighborhood after last night's show you couldn't pay me to see Passion Pit again. At least not at an all ages venue.

I am old and cranky!

raz / May 1, 2010 12:07 PM

im inclined to remind people that ian hulquist of passion pit is from the north suburbs of chicago. big ups to him, unfortunetly thats about all i can dig on this band

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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