Concert review: Passion Pit with Tokyo Police Club at the Ritz Ybor 06.14.10 (with setlist and photos)

Passion Pit came onstage with the high-energy "I've Got Your Number," and didn't lower the tempo once throughout the evening. From our view at the second level balcony, the bodies below were jumping up and down like a giant wave, bathed in the glow from some impressive stage lights. "Make Light" was especially full of perfectly timed flashes that served to pull the crowd from "excited" to "ecstatic." Vocalist Michael Angelakos barely wavered his falsetto throughout the entire set, and the sound at the Ritz this evening was spot on, with synth-y, heavy bass. Singer Michael Angelakos [pictured below] was as amazed at I was at the turn out for their first Tampa show, saying "You're one of the loudest crowds we've ever been to. We didn't know what to expect. Awesome."


[image-1]Nearly everyone in the band switches instruments often. It was interesting to see that "The Reeling" features everyone on synth, with only drummer Nate Donmoyer not hitting the keys. I wouldn't expect any less from alums of the Berklee School of Music. Passion Pit's songs are more than just good dance music; they have complex arrangements that serve to rally the crowd response at Angelakos' whims. Everyone responded well to "Folds In Your Hands," waving arms back and forth like a giant anemone when prompted by the band. "Smile Upon Me" had perfectly pitched laser sounds, pops and squeals, which complemented the keyboards and vocals and resulted in spontaneous jumping up and down (and fist pumping from a couple of boys near us.)


By the time Passion Pit left the stage before their encore, everyone in the building was demanding the band play their best known song with a chant of "Sleepyhead! Sleepyhead!" Before playing the song, though, they delivered "Eyes As Candles," and an impeccable cover of The Cranberries' "Dreams," Angelakos sounding exactly like Dolores O'Riordan. Passion Pit closed the evening with "Sleepyhead," Angelakos speaking humbly to us all one last time before starting to sing: "You know, what I noticed most tonight is there are just so many people smiling, and there's so much shitty stuff going on, and you're all here having fun. We have the best job ever."


Absolutely true. We all had other shit going on in our lives, but for one night we smiled, and we danced … and we all left happy.


SETLIST


I've Got Your Number


Make Light


Better Things


The Reeling


Moth's Wings


Swimming In The Flood


To Kingdom Come


Let Your Love Grow Tall


Folds In Your Hand


Smile Upon Me


Little Secrets


Eyes As Candles


Dreams


Sleepyhead


More photos by Mike


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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.

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