The Boston, Mass. band Passion Pit have tugged on our heart strings since day one. There are the obvious reasons--literary lyrics and catchy chorus' that you'd be foolish not to belt while driving on the 405. There's also the voice of Michael Angelakos which I couldn't help but hone in on tonight as I watched him frantically zip across the stage. There was a moment that I felt as if I clicked pause on the fuzz of sound pulsating around me, at Santa Ana's Observatory, as I watched his facial expressions maneuver in slow-motion.
Full disclosure, a girl standing near me was puffing a considerable amount of marijuana out of her vape pen. Nevertheless it was pretty insane to watch Angelakos do his thing-- a quick whisper into the microphone before he scrunched his facial muscles and belted in an impressively high octave the electro, indie-rock, sound that's enabled him to arrive at the 343rd most listened to band on Spotify, in the world.
But an additional element that we'd prefer not to LeapFrog over is the fact that Passion Pit's fame is somewhat destined. Angelakos, who mind you is noted as the sole member of the band although he performs live alongside four additional musicians (Chris Harts (drums), Aaron Harrison Folb (bass/synthesizer), Giuliano Pizzulo (guitar/synthesizer) and Ray Suen (guitar/synthesizer), created an EP for his girlfriend on Valentines Day. This very EP, Chunk of Change, found its way into the hands of a mutual friend who couldn't help but recognize the potential he had in store (so the story goes).
Fast-forward through live gigs with Death Cab for Cutie, Muse, taking the stage at the iconic Glastonbury Festival in England, and three full-length albums and Angelakos stood before us tonight. Just before the band hit the stage, their friends Atlas Genius, hailing from South Australia, performed hit tracks "Trojans", "Molecules", and "If So" showcasing their drool worthy collection of electric guitars. After a quick shuffle of stage equipment, by a man wearing a Wolverhampton jersey, and Passion Pit opened their set with "Little Secrets."
"Let this be our little secret/no one needs to know we're feeling/higher and higher and higher/higher and higher and higher," Angelakos sang, flinging his hands towards the mosh-pit before him. Next came "Lifted Up (1985)" off their new album titled Kindred. Angelakos, and fellow bandmates, ripped off their jackets after realizing that it is still in the 60s, even at 10pm here in Orange County. They performed a rendition of their track "Cry Like A Ghost" with less electro and more emphasis on guitar and drums. Angelakos, who wore skinny jeans, a white button-down shirt, and a thin black tie, grabbed his jacket and waved it around by his head, occasionally clinging it closely to his body like a safety blanket.
They launched into "Where the Sky Hangs" another track from their new album, that complimented Angelakos' voice more than any other song tonight given the design and layout of the venue. Next they performed other well known tracks like "Moth's Wings," "Constant Conversations"and "Take a Walk", which was deemed 46 on Triple J's Hottest 100 in 2012. Soon to follow was still their iconic "Sleepyhead" track, a given, as it's the only song which Angelakos recorded on Chunk of Change that made its way to the bands first album in 2009, Manners. Sealing the night off with a song that launched Angelakos career, at tonight's sold out show, brought forth perfect symmetry.
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Set List Little Secrets Lifted Up (1985) Cry Like A Ghost Carried Away Where the Sky Hangs Make Light Dancing On The Grave Moth's Wings All I Want I'll Be Alright Constant Conversations The Reeling Take A Walk