March 31st, 2010 marked the unofficial kick off of my Spring/Summer concert bonanza, and it started on a high note. Hailing from Cambridge, Massachusetts, electronic dance pop rockers @PassionPit played to a sold out Lifestyle Communities Pavilion (or the LC as everyone actually calls it). I had been looking forward to seeing this band live for quite sometime and spent much of my workday blasting their debut album Manners on my iPod to properly ready myself. With my concert going gal pal Val (that rhyming was not intended but I am leaving it in) accompanying me we arrived at the LC just in time to catch the last few songs of Bear Hands’ set. This band was completely unknown to me at the time but I like what I heard. In all honesty I give a lot of credit to the bookers at the LC because trying to pick compatible lead in acts for a band such as Passion Pit must have been daunting. After some post concert research I discovered that Bear Hands is signed to Cantora Records, which also happens to be home another of my favorite bands, MGMT. Any band under the same roof as MGMT is worth further investigation, which I plan on doing soon.
Following Bear Hands, was @Mayerhawthorne . Being another band that I was not familiar with I was actually somewhat interested to see what we were in store for. I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. Coming on stage dressed in V neck sweaters and ties I felt like I was looking at a group of Buddy Holly impersonators, which I actually found to be quite amusing. Despite my general dislike of all things Michigan, and specifically Ann Arbor, I found Ann Arbor native Hawthorne’s performance to be unique and enjoyable. Mixing motown and soul sensibilities, the crowd seemed to really get behind the performance, but by the end you could tell that everyone, myself included, was ready for Passion Pit to take the stage.
The atmosphere before Passion Pit hit the stage was electric and other than during Phish’s 2009 Bonnaroo performance, I never seen more glow sticks being tossed by a crowd. When the band started playing the intro to “Make Light” the crowd promptly lost their minds. Basically anytime band launched into an extended keyboard driven riff the crowd responded by whirling into even more of a frenzy. If you like dancing then this was the kind of show for you. Check out the video and see for yourself.
As the group played through their debut album Manners there were definitely several high points. When the band launched into their first hit single “The Reeling” about half way through the set it was clear that the audience hit a new high. A sense of music-induced sonic euphoria was palpable and was accented by what I found to be spectacular stage lighting. Several other songs offered some great sing-a-long moments including “Little Secrets” and “Eyes as Candles.” At the beginning of the encore, lead singer Michael Angelakos sat himself center stage at a keyboard and began to play “Swimming in the Flood.” Next came a bit of a surprise in the form of the band covering “Dreams” by the Cranberries. Angelakos’ voice lent itself really nicely to this classic song and the crowd responded with mass approval.
As I checked off songs in my head as the set progressed it became clear even as the encore started that there was only one song that could possibly close out this performance. That song of course is “Sleepyhead” which has actually been my cell phone ringer since I first head the track months ago. Here is a brief clip that I shot
The main keyboard riff in “Sleepyhead” is infectious and just gets into your brain and stays there. I found myself humming it as I left the show. From a performance standpoint this concert was great. The only downer of the entire evening came from the guy standing behind my insisting on screaming at the top of his lungs in between songs. Exactly how much drugs this man was on remains up for debate (my guess was A LOT), but even this idiot was unable to keep me from having a great time. From a value standpoint I felt that our tickets were fairly priced and that I would probably have paid double face value if I had to scalp for them. It should also be noted that this show was originally scheduled to be at the Newport Music Hall but was moved to the LC even more people could be accommodated. If you ever find yourself with a chance to go see Passion Pit I highly recommend their live show and will be seeing them next time they play in Columbus.