Dancing the Night Away with Passion Pit

Every so often I need a night of dancing, pressed against 1000 sweaty bodies, screaming lyrics into the air. You can imagine my excitement when I heard Passion Pit was playing at The Depot. I was in for a such a night and a memorable one at that.

Opening band Courtship did little to entice me. As soon as they took the stage I leaned over to a friend and whispered, “I’m probably not going to like this band.” I know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but it was just so tempting. Hailing from Hollywood, they were the embodiment of LA hipsters. 4 good-looking boys played unoriginal indie-pop, dressed in designer clothes made to look like they came from a thrift store.

The music was pompously poppy and portrayed the sense that everything is happy and magical. Songs seemed to lack depth and complexity. The crowd went crazy as they covered “Hey Ya” by Outkast. The guitarist, who was essentially a glorified hype man, told a story about seeing Passion Pit years ago and how it was a dream come true to open for them just one year after forming a band. Dreams aside, I couldn’t wait for them to finish their set and Passion Pit to take the stage.

When Passion Pit front man Michael Angelakos stepped into the light I knew we were in for a show. He has a tremendous amount of swag in his shirt and tie, casually undone and untucked. He is confident and relaxed with the crowd that is looking to unwind themselves. Eager anticipation sweeps over the audience as they wait for the music to begin. Passion Pit jumps into “I’ll Be Alright” and the crowd erupts. They know every word and boogie with the music.

Passion Pit is currently touring following the 2017 release of their fourth studio album Tremendous Sea of Love. Formed in 2007, the indietronica band from Cambridge, Massachusetts has known moderate success. Manners (2009) and Gossamer (2012) performed well both critically and commercially. While their most recent albums have been less well received, Passion Pit continues to make their mark in the electropop world.

The crowd helped carry the concert and made it special. Due to Angelakos’ singing style, the vocals are fairly quiet. The voices of 1000 others singing along amplify the music and fill the room. Their love and help is appreciated and expressed by Angelakos. He jokes that his voice was never that strong, but the always energetic crowds of Salt Lake do the work for him. Passion Pit played the hits for around 70 minutes, including, “Sleepyhead”, “Carried Away”, and “Lifted Up (1985)”. After a brief exit and chanting from the crowd, Passion Pit returned to the stage to play “Talk a Walk”, the cherry on top of the sundae.

Passion Pit put on a marvelous concert. Michael Angelakos was entertaining and got the crowd involved. The dance-heavy show didn’t drag on and tire out the fans. The sound quality at The Depot is always top-notch. At the end of the day there is nothing better than live music, especially when it’s as good as Passion Pit.

Concert Review – Mr Little Jeans

There was a palpable excitement in the air as the crowd, myself included, in Kilby Court anxiously waited for Mr Little Jeans to appear. The crowd huddled around the stage both to get a good view and to warm up from the frigid night. Some decided that the best view was actually outside looking in through the window. Everyone started to cheer when the background music turned off and the lights started to dim. The time, albeit a little late, had started.

Norwegian born singer Monica Birkenes, better known as Mr Little Jeans, is as graceful as she is talented as she hopped onto the stage with her black dress and green bomber jacket. Her performance on November 18 proved that as she playfully danced across the stage while singing her beautifully composed songs. Her name had been on my radar since I had discovered her cover of Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs.” She took the wonderfully cheery song and transformed it into a slightly ominous, electric ballad. From that point on, I was drawn to the “electro-pop diva” and her dreamy, synth-pop tunes.

There was a good mixture of old and new as Birkenes performed hits from her debut album Pocketknife and songs from her latest EP F E V E R S. She brought the spunk on “Valentine” as she swiftly hit the high notes in the chorus. Everyone started moving the second they heard the hip and groovy opening drum beats of “Lady Luck.” Birkenes’ vocal talent was truly showcased in “Fever” where her airy vibratos echoed through the audience.

You can tell Birkenes was born to be a performer as she commanded the stage. She danced in a delicate matter as she skipped from left to right on the somewhat cluttered stage. With a venue as intimate as Kilby Court, it’s easier for artists to interact with the audience during shows. Birkenes took full advantage of this as she tried to talk to her audience before, sometimes during, her songs and even asked for assistance in singing one of her songs. During “Rescue Song,” she jumped off the stage and asked many in the crowd to hum the background melody for her. Eventually she found her gal and she all but exploded from happiness watching this girl hum along.

Despite being a relatively short set, about under an hour, there was no shortage of entertainment. After the show, my friend and I decided to visit the merch table because I had wanted a poster. Unfortunately, there was no poster, but about two minutes after I had had entered the merch area the leading lady herself appeared. Her bubbly personality that was previewed on stage was just as evident as she autographed memorabilia. Birkenes is a kind soul with a smile that can go on for miles. Meeting her was a pleasure and her concert is one I’m sure I won’t forget.