If you missed Passion Pit's NYC debut there is good news and bad news. The good news is it was the first of a three consecutive Wednesdays residency. The bad news is, given the size of the crowd and the enthusiastic response, good luck getting in to see them. I don't think Passion Pit need that much help from the media at this point. The audience, not sold out but close, was singing along to almost all the songs and seriously dancing. Going just slightly south of Bonkers. Pianos should really consider selling tickets to the other two shows as demand is going to be high. These Bostonians are going to be big.*
That is just pure scene reportage, not me saying they're the most awesome new thing ever. As for the review: Passion Pit are good, no doubt, but I'm not sure I get the overarching love for them. I have read a bunch of comparisons to MGMT but to my ears the obvious comparison is Aqueduct — straight-from-the-heart pop songwriting, played mostly with keyboards so you can dance to it. Main man Michael Angelakos writes Big Hooks with shout-a-long choruses and his band is tight. It's an energetic show even though Angelakos is sitting behind the keyboard most of the time, though passion definitely has him standing up just about once a song.
If there is a weak spot it is his voice. Angelakos sings on the upper end of his register, almost a shout, which isn't a problem on record but live it could use a little more finesse — it's sort of wild to the point it flies around the intended notes most of the time. It's a quibble and I'm sure control will come with time. (Passion Pit aren't even two years old.) Certainly the crowd wasn't concerned with such thing — they were too busy going apeshit. Me, I gently bobbed along.
If you pre-order their EP, Chunk of Change, through Insound, you can get a free instant download of a remix of "Sleepyhead." Speaking of here's video I shot of the last two numbers of their set: "Sleepyhead" and "Smile Upon Me":
In addition to the next two Pianos gigs, here are the rest of Passion Pit's live appearances:
Aug 14 – Outerland, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts w/ RJD2
Aug 20 – Pianos w/ D. Gookin, All These Kings, NYC
Aug 27 – Pianos, NYC
Sep 12 – Newbury Comics on Newbury St, Boston, Massachusetts
Sep 13 – Monolith Fest: Red Rocks CO, Denver, Colorado
Sep 18 – Great Scott ( CD RELEASE SHOW! 18+), Allston, Massachusetts
Oct 4 – POP MONTREAL w/ The Dodos, MONTREAL, Quebec
Playing before Passion Pit was Brooklyn trio Murray Flexor who I actually liked quite a bit for having never heard of them before tonight. My cursory pre-show visit to their MySpace had me thinking they were in the same ballpark as Grovesnor and their live show definitely backed that up. We're talking mid-'80s UK pop — ABC or Swing Out Sister type stuff. Their super-groovy basslines really stood out for me. Plus: glockenspiel! I was dancing more to them than Passion Pit if I'm being honest. Definitely a group to key an eye (and ear) out for.
*Addendum. Never post after 2AM. In the sober light of morning and being ridiculed by Brooklyn Vegan commenters after the first paragraph was quoted there, I will concede the the first paragraph is a little ridiculous. And I probably would've de-hyped it a bit the next day if it hadn't been quoted, to read something like this:
"If you missed Passion Pit's
NYC debut there is good news and bad news. The good news is it was the
first of a three consecutive Wednesdays residency. The bad news is,
given the size of the crowd and the enthusiastic response, good luck
getting in to see them the next two weeks. The audience, not sold out but close, was
singing along to almost all the songs and seriously dancing. Going just
slightly south of Bonkers at times. These
Bostonians won't be playing places this small again."
I will try not to make silly proclimations again, but I can't make any promises.