Friday, September 6, 2013

Passion Pit at Pier 26

Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit
As a student at Emerson College in Massachusetts, Michael Angelakos wrote and performed a few songs on a laptop computer as a belated Valentine’s Day gift to his then-girlfriend. He circulated these songs on campus and began singing them at venues in the Boston area. Before long, he collaborated with musicians from the nearby Berklee College of Music and Passion Pit was born in 2007. The band presently consists of Angelakos on lead vocals, Ian Hultquist on synthesizers and guitar, Jeff Apruzzese on synthesizers and bass, Xander Singh on synthesizer and Nate Donmoyer on drums. Passion Pit has two albums, 2009’s Manners and 2012’s Gossamer.
Angelakos expressed several times tonight his awe of headlining the final outdoor concerts at Pier 26 on the Hudson River. He acknowledged that the evening was wonderfully cool. Also, from his vantage point onstage, he had a majestic view of the lighted lower Manhattan skyline, including the new One World Trade Center, against a clear night’s sky. He came to sing and entertain, however, as behind him, the three men manning synthesizers and one at the drums counted on him to sing the band’s many popular songs. Angelakos proved very much the front man, commanding attention as he paced non-stop across the wide stage while singing happy synth-pop dance songs in a falsetto voice. Some have called the music “indietronica,” or electronic-based indie music, to distinguish it from dance-club-style EDM. Even when two of the synth players switched to guitar and bass, the sound of the remaining synthesizer was highly dominant. Nearly every song was built on a similar formula – throbbing, melodic verses led to bombastic choruses, with stage lighting similarly using softer-colored hues during the softer verses and turning brighter at the anthem-like choruses. Just when every note and every ray of light seemed precisely calculated, Angelakos announced that the song the band had just performed had not been played live in eight months. This may have been the only moment of improvisation all evening.

Passion Pit will close the summer concert series at Pier 26 tomorrow night; the venue will move to another location next summer. Meanwhile, visit the band’s website at