WORDS BY JOJO KHOR
Passion Pit // 20 November // HMV Forum, London
PHOTOGRAPHY BY THOMAS CHATT
As I walked into the HMV Forum London I was greeted with a thick gust of air and waded my way across the first floor balcony. The venue seemed pretty much sold out and filled to the brim with hundreds of people (capacity 2,300). What a feat for an electropop band from little ol’ Cambridge, Massachusetts. I missed out on the first support for Passion Pit but managed to catch the last couple of songs from Chad Valley, who I’m already familiar with after being recommended by a friend. A seemingly one-man band/producer, Hugo Manuel, shines under the pseudonym, Chad Valley, and performs on stage with additional vocals from Rose Dagul, to layer up those dream-pop tracks. I guess the stage manager just let loose on the smoke machine as the room filled high and it become like a ‘Where’s Wally/Chad Valley?’ game. Minus the smoke, Chad Valley delivered a smooth ambient electro set and the sound quality was rather impressive considering I’ve seen some big acts at The Forum but performing on some awful speakers. Perhaps HMV have stepped it up with new sound equipment with that extra cash from closing down high street stores? The hazy electro files perfectly next to Washed Out or Toro Y Moi, and it’s a complete soother for me.
The boys played songs from both albums; songs from 2009’s ‘Manners’ were crowd pleasers and even live tracks from the latest, ‘Gossamer’ were real sing-a-longs just proving how bloody catchy their songs are. 80’s echoed track, ‘Carried Away’ from their latest album, was a complete disco track and everyone around me, whether middle-aged, teenybopper or business men were (beg my pardon) getting carried away himself or herself.
In admirable professional fashion, Angelakos kept a decent tolerable amount of chitchat with the crowd making sure everyone was having a good time and in true American style, he addressed the audience and fans with endless thank you’s. I was pleasantly surprised with Passion Pit’s new track, ‘Constant Conservations’ and was momentarily confused to be at The Weeknd’s gig. Who knew these geeky Massachusetts boys could create such passionate 90s R&B-style music? Definitely a stand-out track for me that night and with the addition of one crazed fan girl in the front flailing her arms around in a grinding motion, seriously who knew Passion Pit could release the Usher in them?
Keyboards and epic synth bass break out as someone screams, “PLAY SLEEPYHEAD!” Bam. Right on cue, everyone hears that effervescent riff that we all know so well and it’s ‘Sleepyhead’. Confetti bursts and disperses on the audience right on cue to the electro drop in the song and the audience is now in overdrive of excitement. Passion Pit once again thrash around on stage with Michael Angelakos throwing himself across the stage and thumping around in his trademark style as they walk off stage and is somewhat the end of the show.
Obviously, there was going to be an encore. Assuming that they ran over time because after a couple of minutes since walking off stage, the band quietly walk back on and begin playing a few more songs from ‘Manners’. Eventually, Passion Pit close the show with the energetic single ‘Little Secrets’ and a final explosion of confetti seals the deal.