Back in 2008, I heard about an "amazing" new band from the blog of a Los Angeles A&R gal I used to follow. She seemed to be months ahead of the next big thing, always posted links to download new songs, and introduced me to fantastic new artists earlier than I ever would've found them on my own. Sometimes I approached her recommendations cautiously, but preceded by a description of "imagine if MGMT and Girl Talk had a baby," I dove head first into the suggestion of Passion Pit, and haven't stopped listening since. Their absolutely legit electro-pop always makes me want to unstoppably dance like an absolute lunatic; a feeling that was clearly shared by the sold-out crowd at the Ritz Ybor this past Monday night. [All photos by Mike Wilson.]
I should've had some idea of what to expect from this show the morning of the event — friends searching for tickets started bombing my inboxes as soon as word spread that the show was sold out. Still, approaching the venue, I was completely blown away to see a block of people in every direction pleading for extra tickets and an entrance line stretching around the building. Sometimes, when I've followed a band since before their first EP was even released, I am genuinely amazed when they inspire this kind of fanaticism. Though I know they've become serious indie darlings, the level of Passion Pit's popularity was an unprecedented surprise for me. Heck, I honestly never even realized Tampa HAS this many hipsters.
While the Urban Outfitted crowd was packing themselves in to catch the first opening act from Brahms, our group opted to avoid the line and partake of some frosty beverages at Reservoir Bar. We mistakenly thought it was Tampa's fantastic Brahm Bones opening, and the assumption that we'd be able to catch their set some other night meant we missed the electro-pop of the Brooklyn band, and actually, the beginning of Tokyo Police Club's set. We walked into a crowd going insane as though Tokyo Police Club were headlining the evening. [Bassist/singer Dave Monks pictured right]
The catchy, danceable style of Tokyo Police Club is a bit more emo than I typically listen to, but I gave them quite a bit of ear time before the show so I'd be familiar. Still, there were plenty of surprises; "Big Difference" was definitely more post-punk than I was expecting and "Wait Up (Boots Of Danger)" was full of "woo ooh's" that prompted the entire room to sing along. "Your English Is Good" was a particular favorite of the crowd, its pop beat and Death Cab for Cutie-like chorus inducing thrashing and bobbing from everyone around me. The Candian foursome closed out their set with the fast-paced "Be Good," accompanied by an energetic crowd yelling and clapping along.