When I interviewed Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos a couple of months ago, he expressed a certain incredulity when I asked him whether he expected to be playing in places like Singapore, when he started to put together his music seriously, all those years ago. I am sure that he was equally blown away by the ecstatic response from the packed out Esplanade Concert Hall on Tuesday night, consisting mainly of tween hipster kids!
It didn’t take much to warm up the crowd, cuz they were raring to go the moment the house lights went down and Angelakos (together with 5-man backing band) launched into “Take A Walk” from new album Gossamer. The vibrant song – complete with its hooky vocal lines, synth riffs and stomping rhythms – set the tone for the rest of the concert. Thus tracks like “The Reeling”, “Carried Away” and “I’ll be Alright” (and every single other song, to be frank) went down supremely well with the rapturous audience.
If there’s any criticism of the performance, it would be that the band hardly varied the mood, tone or tempo throughout with the possible exception of the soulful “Constant Conversations”. Strangely enough, even though there were as many as FIVE keyboards on stage, invariably the keyboards parts focused on the same range and even motives making the arrangements somewhat one-track. In that respect, from a musicology perspective, the recordings were more satisfying than the live renditions.
There was a very strong post-punk new wave revivalist vibe about the dance-oriented music (think: M83, MGMT), at one point I even detected the influence of Dan Hartman (google him!) in the chord progressions and general approach of melding dance and pop together.
Not that that mattered to the kids who welcomed every song with shrieks of wild delight unconditionally. At the very end, Angelakos expressed a desire to return (who wouldn’t want to, in such circumstances?) and hopefully, the material will reveal greater musical development by that time (and not if) that happens…
Thanks to Greenhorn Productions for making this review possible. Pictures by Joanna Kwa.