Something was in the air of Toronto. After months of the weather being unbearably crappy with only a day here and there of it being nice enough giving the illusion that warmth might come to us full time the tide finally turned and the last week of April has been glorious. Wednesday was the first day where the forecast decided to not dip below 15 degrees and stay up from now on. When the weather finally changes it causes an excitement in the city that truly makes it come alive. What better way to throw off those winter blues once and for all then with a dance party at The Danforth Music Hall hosted by the ever pleasant sounds of Passion Pit?
Just by looking at the stage it was obvious the crowd was in for a treat as arcs of lights were set up all across the back of the stage with a giant Passion Pit banner hanging down, how could it not be a fun night with the band in town to promote their fantastic new album Kindred? After several years away from the spotlight as singer (and sole band member), Michael Angelakos dealt with being hospitalized for bi-polar disorder causing them to cancel the rest of their Gossamer tour, it was a welcome sight to hear new material and see the band live.
The set started with the debit single from Kindred, Lifted Up (1985). The lighting rig went bonkers and started a wild right of strobes and a wall of sweet synthetic music creating an instant dance party. The beginning of the set consisted mostly of new songs, mainly already released singles, but after those three the set was all older material. Even though it was now nighttime you could easily tell it was the start of the summer as the lights were all hues of pink, purple, green and yellow. You expect an electro pop to have synthesizers but seeing all four backing band members with elaborate synth set ups it helped explain how everything sounded like sticky candy coming out of the amps. The crowd ate up every song, singing along to all the deep catalogue tunes like Little Secrets and All I Want.
The band seemed to cull from all aspects of electronic influenced music with tinges of New Wave, Hip Hop, Electronica, and EDM to the point of one song Angelakos paused the band right before the bridge of a song and dropped it like a beat. With all modified music being made it would have been easy for the band members to be indistinguishable but drummer Chris Hartz brought an unmatched intensity that took the show to the next level. His hard cymbal fills that were a mainstay throughout most of the songs made him sound like a punk musician playing in an arena rock band.
The crowd’s energy went up to an 11 when the opening notes for I’ll Be Alright started up. It seems like every chorus of a Passion Pit song is ripe for audience participation, which the crowd gladly sung along at every chance they could. Angelakos would thrust the mic above the crowd’s heads so they could have their voices heard even louder. The energy was great as it was one of the happiest near mosh pits I had ever seen. I’m not sure if it was the warm weather, or the copious amounts of free samples of Tito’s Vodka that was being handed out but people were really enjoying themselves. The main set ended with a head banging version of Talk A Walk as Angelakos prowled across the stage screaming his head off.
When the band came back out for the encore they only played two songs, but they knew what they needed to end with, Sleepyhead. They included a super spacey synth solo while some guys crowd surfed and girls were raised onto the shoulders of their boyfriends. Angelakos stood at the front of the stage with his microphone stand held triumphantly over his head as the crowd roared. With all the obstacles he has faced, it was great seeing Angelakos’ music so well received with a giant grin on his face. Winter was taken out back and given the boot while we danced to the acceptance of the coming of summer.