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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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Our Final Transmission Days

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