Before embarking on the desert as part of Friday's Coachella lineup, Passion Pit made a pit stop (no pun intended) to Los Angeles' Club Nokia. Led by frontman Michael Angelakos, the electro-pop quintet made quite a spectacle during its pre-festival performance.
Before stepping foot onstage, the band was preluded by a cacophony of found noises and haunting organs and violins. The guys casually waltzed to their places and then suddenly lights began to strobe and each member frenetically pounded on his instrument before transitioning into "I'll Be Alright," off their critically acclaimed sophomore release, Gossamer. Their set list was a nice mix of new and old tunes, and when they played "The Reeling," off 2009's Manners, Angelakos taunted the audience. "Alright Los Angeles," he yelled. "I know how loud you can get!" He held out his microphone, still positioned snugly on its stand, out into the crowd, and his fans cheered, accepting his challenge.
The singer wore his signature outfit of jeans, a plaid button-up shirt, tie and blazer, and as he pranced across the stage jubilantly, it was hard to imagine that a mere year ago this same man was hospitalized and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In a recent interview with Pitchfork, Angelakos admitted that he doesn't see himself living long. "My lifestyle doesn't bode well with what any doctor has told me I need to do to regulate my disorder," he explained. "There's this clock ticking, and at a certain point an alarm will go off: 'You're done touring.'"
Though the problem with bipolar disorder is its erratic emotional peaks and valleys, last night Angelakos genuinely seemed happy. During "Carried Away," he channeled Michael Jackson and danced with an occasional foot stomp and finger snap, and he interacted with his fans every chance he got. "Everyone put your hands up," he instructed the crowd. "I don't care if you're sitting or holding your phone. Put your hands up." He waited until the majority of the audience obeyed. "When the beat drops, we're all gonna go in unison, alright?!" The band teased the crowd with a tension building drone and then dove into its most well known single, "Take A Walk."
Every second of the band's 80-minute long set was entertaining and aesthetically alluring. Behind the members, large white orbs flashed different colors depending on the song, creating a stunning spectacle. But what's more exhilarating about seeing Passion Pit live is you never know which show will be its last.
Critical Bias: With the amount of energy and happiness he exudes, it's hard to believe Angelakos was ever suicidal. It seems as though music truly is his therapy.
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The Crowd: Mellow...a little too mellow.
Overheard in the Crowd: Pass that joint. (Explains the mellowness)
Random Notebook Dump: A couple making out in front of me obstructed my view for the majority of the time. Balcony seats blow.