View more photos in Timothy Norris' slideshow, “Passion Pit, Mister Heavenly, We Barbarians @ The Palladium.”
“I don't know what to do with this bra,” Michael Angelakos announced with a grin holding up the garment in question. “Who throws a bra during the first song?” People who are ready to party, Angelakos, that's who. One would think that after two years of touring their wildly successful debut album Manners, the lead singer of Passion Pit would be used to undergarments arriving on stage.
It was abundantly clear that these Boston natives had already won over the hearts and minds of the crowd at the Hollywood Palladium before they even played a single note. As soon as blue smoke began to drift across the stage, there were screams of anticipation, and as soon as the first disco thumps of “I've Got Your Number” were heard underwear started to fly. The well deserved victory lap of Passion Pit had begun!
Unlike most bands that produce that effect on large crowds, Passion Pit was very modest. There was no gold spandex or headbands or glitter. Dressed in collared shirts and cardigans, these guys looked like they spent most of their time in a library rather than the dance floor. Even their choice of beverages was respectable. Halfway through the set a member of the audience asked Angelakos what he was drinking, and instead of beer or Jack Daniels or even water, he proudly announced that he was sipping on Throat Coat tea. That's right. The party creators were sipping on…tea.
Any thoughts of mistaken identity, however, were erased as soon as the music started. Using a combination of drum machine and the real thing played skillfully by Nate Donmoyer Passion Pit has built a scaffolding of bouncing beats on which they've laid catchy synthetic melodies which were accentuated with Angelakos' unmistakable falsetto, creating a sound all their own. Angelakos gave it all he had for every song. Pacing back and forth on stage the lead singer would pull the microphone away from his mouth and hold a note unwaveringly until he was brought to his knees with the effort.
The feverish crowd mimicked the energy they saw on stage, dancing jubilantly for a solid hour, but when Passion Pit played their hits it was like a volt of elation ran through the floor. They were so delighted by songs like “The Reeling” and “Little Secrets” that the entire place began jumping up and down with their hands raised to the ceiling. When the band left the stage there was a small cry of outrage, and in between the chanting of the band's name to entice them back there were cheers for the single that had yet been played. “Sleepyhead! Sleepyhead!” the party goers demanded. If they hadn't come back for an encore there may have been blood, but of course after a few minutes Passion Pit reemerged on stage.
The encore included a lovely cover of The Cranberries' “Dreams” which Passion Pit dedicated to their crew and the audience. For most people tackling Dolores O'Riordan's vocals would be a challenge, but Angelakos hit every single note without breaking a sweat. In fact that was the most relaxed he looked all evening.
They finished the evening with “Sleepyhead,” the song that launched them to stardom satiating the impatient crowd. There was something magical about having a roomful of people singing their favorite song as loud as they can. It was like a joyful madness had taken over and rendered everyone helpless, enslaved to the music. The sample of the singers singing “sleepyhead” in the background was immediately made redundant as hundreds of voices jumped in. And just like that the evening was over and waves of people were released into the night with smiles on their faces and a spring in their step.