Passion Pit at Northern Lights (4/23/2012)

28 Apr

I was rather looking forward to seeing Passion Pit regardless of the fact that they were playing at Northern Lights on a Monday night.  It’s usually okay to show up fashionably late, or just plain late, and not miss much at a Northern Lights show.  The doors for this particular event opened at 6:30 and the concert was set to start at 8 o’clock.  I arrived, hardly fashionable, at 7:05.  I was surprised by the amount of cars in the parking lot, but I was even more surprised to see people hanging out on the grassy median across from the venue.  I assumed it was a larger than normal group of adolescent pre-gamers and walked toward what appeared to be the back of the line.  I few seconds later I had a porkchop’s finger pointing at me and then the grassy median saying “No, buddy…end a the line’s over there.”  “Thanks…buddy.”

Only Northern Lights.  I know that they have expanded the square footage of the venue, but this made me question fire code as there were at least a good 30 people behind me at this point.

As soon as I got inside, I shuffled up to the front.  Not only was the venue crowded, the vast majority of the attendance looked to be teenagers.  There were more X’s on the backs of hands than a straight edge hardcore show.  I beat out the ten or so ribbon-wristed attendees to the front while they busied themselves buying expensive drinks.

Above: Arms.

Arms came out to open just after 8.  There seemed to be some increased excitement when they took the stage, but I think that may have been that there wasn’t anything on the ticket indicating that there would be an opener for Passion Pit.  Regardless, after a few songs, Arms was able to win the audience over.   I have to say that, with the exception of one drunk shmuck who careened around like a  human bumper car until he was ousted by the staff to the chant of “Asshole!”, the audience for Arms and Passion Pit was very respectful and supported both acts with clapping between songs and happily accommodating solicited hand-raising.  Arms was a painless opener.  They reminded me of your typical college band but with a much better grasp on two-part vocal harmonies.  They weren’t exactly thrilling, but definitely listenable and the set was kept brief.

The crowd, who may have been feeling guilty of a false start about 45 minutes earlier, started jumping and screaming when Passion Pit came out.  There was also a teenage bum-rush toward the stage which caused a teetering shuffle and my being pushed practically up against the right speaker (which accounts for the terrible sound quality on my videos which will not be posted).  Normally this would piss me off, but the herd seemed more a result of sheer adolescent excitement than the typical “I know you were standing here before me but get the fuck out of the way!”  Plus I had a good three inches on most everyone and so my view wasn’t completely obstructed.

Above: Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit

Passion Pit had a smart playlist bookended by their opener “Moth’s Wings” and their final encore “Little Secrets” off of their 2009 release Manners.  The hour-long set consisted of a good portion of Manners and tracks off of their upcoming album to be released this summer.  Frontman Michael Angelakos humorously quipped before playing the first new song of the set, “We have a new album coming out…I know, it took me fucking long enough.”  The new songs seemed poppier and more manic than Manners or the debut Chunk of Change EP.  I’m not sure how I felt about the new songs; I suppose I’ll have to hear them again before I decide.  In any event, the crowd ate them up.

About halfway through the set, Angelakos asked the crowd if they wanted just a normal show, or if they wanted to go “ape shit.”  A deafening roar indicated that they wanted the latter.  Angelakos, who really did seem to be having a great time, spent the remainder of the show belting out his songs and jetting back and forth across the stage looking for things he could climb on.  By the end of the show his tight, grey hipster blazer, which he refused to take off despite the heat, had two wing-like, black sweat marks on the back.  It turns out that ape shit was the way to go because everyone seemed to leave the show in good spirits.

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