Live Last Night: Passion Pit

adobe slatsPassion Pit: And don't the kids just love it.

There's a reason baseball players spend at least a couple years in the minor leagues before making it to The Show. They need time for seasoning and to hone their skills. The same holds true for bands. You don't become a headliner right away. But blogs have rendered this traditional path obsolete in certain cases. Take Passion Pit. The Boston electro-pop quintet has existed for a little more than a year and has just a six-song EP to its credit; in other words, the perfect band to make its D.C. debut on the Black Cat's cozy backstage. But one of those six songs, "Sleepyhead," caught the fancy of the online community in a big way and a backstage sellout turned into a mainstage near-sellout. OK, it ain't Madison Square Garden, but in the indie rock universe it's a big deal and it takes most bands a few trips around the circuit before they get to that point.

Passion Pit did its best to seem like it belonged and only a few times did the band come off as the musical equivalent for a 20-year-old kid flailing at curve balls in the dirt. There was only enough material for a 7-song, 30-minute set, but singer Michael Angelakos's hyperactive, high-pitched squeal is best taken in half-hour doses. Probably less. The live versions of the songs are much louder and more rambunctious than the bedroom-pop on the "Chunk of Change" EP, and Angelakos seemed to be still working out just how loud to sing. He was really shrieking up there. With his almost-afro, beard and programmed disco beats he came off as an updated version of Barry Gibb. Bee Gees gone indie-pop wouldn't be the worst way to describe the band, although "sounds like MGMT" would probably be more helpful to the many 19-year-olds at the Black Cat.

"Sleepyhead" was the song everyone came to hear -- the number of camera phones going into the air during its intro confirmed this -- and its euphoric synth washes and gliding beat were plenty warm and inviting. And if the rest of the songs sounded like slightly inferior versions of the same thing, well, what do you expect? They're just getting started.

By David Malitz |  February 4, 2009; 5:08 PM ET Live Last Night
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Keep the baseball analogies coming.

Posted by: PotsyDC | February 7, 2009 7:41 PM

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