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Passion Pit at IU Auditorium

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From the very first note, Passion Pit’s most striking element is lead singer Michael Angelakos’ voice. His acute falsetto falls upon the band’s synth-tastic music with grace and majesty. Angelakos, a supremely active band front man, was in a constant state of “jump and twirl” for the majority of Saturday night’s show, once even spinning his corded microphone round and round like a helicopter. Just two songs in, he filled time between songs by complimenting the rows of people directly below the stage. “The front is really awesome right now,” he said and then added “I wish you all were up here.”

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  • Ashley Woodrum

The third song, “Better Things”, kicked off with a tribal drum beat that immediately turned into a disco anthem akin to the quirky standards of Of Montreal. A colossal backdrop of paint splatters decorated the space behind the band. Pulsating, vibrant lights not only added to the intensity of the music, but also illuminated the backdrop in different shades for various effects.

While some songs were more energetic than others, the Bloomington audience- living up to their reputation- was there to party. Even amongst the confines of the auditorium’s stationary seats, the mass of bodies danced like they were at a standing-room-only venue for the duration of the concert. And when Passion Pit closed their show with fan favorite “Little Secrets”, if there were still any motionless bodies, they were surely dancing by the song’s conclusion.

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A pleasing three-song encore opened with “Eyes As Candles” from Passion Pit’s 2009 release Manners. The crowd began to chant for “Sleepy Head” but the band had other plans. “We’ll play that,” Angelakos said. “But we’re gonna do something different first.” Passion Pit then treated everyone to a spacey, tripped out rendition of The Cranberries classic “Dreams” before closing the night with “Sleepy Head”. Fed up with following the rules and acting civilized, everyone ran from their seats and bum rushed the front of the auditorium for three gleeful minutes of shoulder-to-shoulder dancing and jumping. One super-ballsy concert goer even managed to spark a joint in those last few moments of glory, despite heavy auditorium security.

Passion Pit lead vocalist Michael Angelakos plays the keys for encore opener Eyes As Candles
  • Ashley Woodrum
  • Passion Pit lead vocalist Michael Angelakos plays the keys for encore opener "Eyes As Candles"

I was skeptical of seeing an electro-pop dance band in a seated venue, but The IU Auditorium proved to be hospitable towards its guests and completely adept at major event planning. The light show was astounding, the band sounded amazing, and the crowd was lively and fun. And I gather from Passion Pit fans who’ve seen the band multiple times, this is apparently the norm for their live shows.

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