Concert review: Passion Pit, Tokyo Police Club at Rams Head Live
All too often, electro-rock bands disappoint live. The thick, processed vocals sound thin in person, the lockstep synthesizers out of sync.
Not so for Passion Pit. When the five-piece from Massachusetts kicked off a summer tour with a sold-out gig at Rams Head Live last night (tonight they'll be at the 9:30 Club in Washington), the grooves were tight and funky and singer Michael Angelakos' (pictured, top) sailing falsetto was strong enough to tickle the club's rafters.
Here is a link to a photo gallery of the show.
The set wasn't long -- it clocked in at a about an hour, give or take -- but that's understandable. Passion Pit only has one album out so far, last year's "Manners," which made a splash on the indie scene. And most of the synth-heavy songs from "Manners" held up live ...
There were enough keyboards on stage to stock a music store, and the band made swift use of them. For tracks like "Little Secrets," not one, not two but three of the five guys on stage were playing synths. You didn't even miss the guitar.
Angelakos, with his frizzy bob of brown hair, button down shirt and jeans, commanded crowd members to get their hands in the air, and they complied. Every other song, open fists were bumping in the air to the beat.
When they recorded "Manners," Passion Pit smartly built in lines which audiences could latch onto in their live shows, such as "Look at me oh look at me / is this the way I'll always be? / Oh noooo" and "higher and higher and higher."
At Rams Head, it seemed like everyone knew these parts, and sang along, their hands in the air. The show was filled with ecstatic moments like this -- flashes of pure party bliss fueled by slinky synths and irresistible beats.
Passion Pit let it all hang out with their second-to-last song of the night, a cover of the Cranberries' "Dreams." Angelakos and Co. amped up the usually airy track, giving it a fresh sense of urgency and perhaps a dash of camp.
Last November, when the Cranberries opened their tour at Rams Head Live, they also wrapped up their show with "Dreams." Passion Pit did it better.
Opener Toyko Police Club laid out some fast and loose indie rock, with a blend of songs from their debut, "Elephant Shell" and their new one, "Champ," which is due out in a few days. Singer/bassist Dave Monks (pictured, bottom) has a specific range, but uses it well. Unfortunately, many of his verses were lost in the washy mix. Though the newer songs lacked the same punch as older tracks like "Tesellate" and "Your Engish Is Good," they showed plenty of promise.(Baltimore Sun photos by Josh Sisk)