Last Night: Passion Pit at the Palladium Ballroom

Passion Pit
Palladium Ballroom
June 21, 2010

Better than: seeing Elmo in concert.

It was startling, actually--even to the band on stage.

"This is one of the biggest audiences we're playing to on this tour," Passion Pit, see concert photos in our slideshow frontman Michael Angelakos announced to his adoring crowd somewhere in the middle of his band's 75-minute performance.

Then he marveled at the room before him.

With reason: The Palladium was sold out, even--some feat for a 3,500-person capacity venue.

But even more remarkable than its numbers was its energy--and this crowd and band had plenty.

Bouncing and scooting around stage with set of 10 oscillating fans behind him, Angelakos and his four fellow bandmates served as the entertainment for the night, sure. But, on this night, they felt more like masters of ceremony, true leaders of the room's merriment.

And oh how the room was ready to be led: Reduced to putty by Angelakos' falsetto croon early on, this particularly young audience seemed more than eager to participate in the festivities the band offered, taking the band's wave-your-hand-like-this requests and following through with them as if they were being scored.

Perhaps it was Angelakos' charm that won them over. On stage, he bantered with audience members near the stage, joking that his band might not play a request before succumbing ("That's one of our singles--you think we're not gonna play it?) and mocking the crowd members who thrust their camera phones into the air during "The Reeling," near the set's start ("How many fucking clips of this are there gonna be on YouTube tomorrow?").

Certainly, the music was part of the pull: Infectious and dance-y and proven to be a more marketable commodity than the hype factory the band appeared in its first stop in Dallas, the band's live performance of its Manners- and Chunk of Change-filled set was spot on with their studio recordings. Some piped in sounds--children's choirs, ambient noises and back-up drum beats among them--surely helped that effect, but, more than anything else, it was Angelakos' voice that impressed. At his band's last stop through town, he struggled to maintain the high pitch that makes his band's music so distinguishable and (perhaps) endearing; on this night, aside from a bumpy opening number, his voice maintained its cartoon-ish sheen.

It was almost as startling as the crowd's enthusiasm for it.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
This was my fourth Passion Pit show, and the band's second stop in Dallas. I also saw them perform at the Austin City Limits Festival and the Monolith Festival last summer. Chances are, I'd seen the band more times than anyone else in the room not part of the tour. And, OK, it's not like I've been forced: Chunk of Change was my jam, y'all. And, as such, it was real nice to hear "Better Things," maybe the best song on that EP (though mysteriously not included on Manners) thrown into last night's set.

By The Way: I've seriously never seen the Palladium filled with that so people--and certainly not with so much energy.

Random Note: A sure sign of summer? A large chunk of the crowd was clearly high school students who didn't have to worry about going to school on Tuesday.

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