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Passion Pit - KOKO, London, 28/10/2009

  by Mark Rowland

published: 20 / 10 / 2009

Passion Pit - KOKO, London, 28/10/2009


Mark Rowland discovers Massachusetts-based electronic band and former bedroom act Passion Pit to have an increasingly comfortable stage presence at a gig at ther KOKO in London

The Koko is busy, and sweltering. The scruffy indie types who usually frequent one of London’s most popular venues are in attendance tonight, but this is a much more varied crowd than the average Koko gig – some look like they’ve got lost on the way to Pacha. At this point in time, some are laughing, some are dancing, and many just look bemused. Max Tundra, veteran of the avant-garde electronica scene, was never going to go down well with everyone, but his upbeat, slightly cheesy approach has a high entertainment factor, despite the face that it is one man, Ben Jacobs, and a table covered in gadgets. Towards the end of his short set, in which Jacobs has done his best to rile up the crowd for Passion Pit (for the most part successfully), he addresses the crowd ecstatically. “For those of you who were here yesterday, she said yes!” he yells. Those who weren’t at yesterday’s gig put two and two together, and Jacobs gets a round of applause. Closing his set with his bizarre cover of ‘So Long, Farewell’ from 'The Sound of Music', Max Tundra leaves the stage having put a smile on almost everyone’s faces. There is a palpable air of excitement in the minutes before Passion Pit come onstage, but when the band take to the stage with a slightly flat ‘Eyes as Candles’, that excitement dips. It is hardly the strongest song the band could kick off with, but the band are not entirely to blame – the crowd are baying for their upbeat numbers. The set remains luke warm for a couple of numbers before the band hit their stride with 'Make Light', the opener from their debut full-length 'Manners'. From then on, things start to pick up, and the crowd comes alive. Having started life as pretty much a bedroom band, Passion Pit have been learning and improving their live set over the course of the year, and are now getting to a point where they are starting to gel, despite a hiccups here and there. The band members do seem to be enjoying themselves and are obviously gaining confidence in their abilities to put on a good show. Michael Angelakos in particular is getting more and more comfortable in his role as front man, singing and dancing at the front of the stage and leaving the music, for the most part, to his band mates. Passion Pit are clearly more comfortable playing the Manners material than they are the songs from 'Chunk of Change', with ‘Live to Tell the Tale’ in particular paling in comparison with the recorded version. The band makes a spirited attempt to reinvent some of those songs, with ‘Better Things’ getting the most drastic reworking, with a heavy dance drum beat and glittering arpeggios. Most people in attendance don’t recognise it at first, but once the song fully kicks in, the new version is welcomed with open arms, and though it doesn’t quite match the original recording, it does maintain its wide-eyed jubilation. Singles such as 'Sleepyhead' and 'Little Secrets' naturally go down best with the vast majority of people, many of whom are huddled in small groups, dancing ecstatically and singing the songs to each other. This reaches its peak with the band’s last few songs – 'Sleepyhead' followed by ‘Smile Upon Me’, then the encore, ‘Moth’s Wings’ and ‘The Reeling’. The latter in particular was a great choice for a closer, ensuring that people went home with the memory of Passion Pit at their exultant best, rather than at their numbest.

Picture Gallery:-
Passion Pit - KOKO, London, 28/10/2009

Passion Pit - KOKO, London, 28/10/2009

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Manners (2009)
Infectious and childishly euphoric debut album from Boston-based debut album, who have taken the synth sound of the 80s and then up-dated it with immense style
Chunk of Change (2009)

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