There is only one true measure of an event’s success at Tufts, and that gauge is sweat. At Tufts, the sweatier, the better, and Passion Pit’s show on Tuesday, October 26 turned the Cage into a veritable sauna.
(Photo: Maxine Builder)
In the interest of full disclosure, I am a huge fan of Passion Pit, so I had been looking forward to this show since Concert Board announced it in September. Most of the crowd here at Tufts seemed to share my enthusiasm for the band, although there also seemed to be a strong contingent of concertgoers who did not know Passion Pit well but were going merely to have a good time with friends. Nonetheless, when I arrived at the Cage, which was probably the easiest time I have ever had in finding a venue, the audience was buzzing, even after being subjected to the relatively intense security that included metal detectors.
When the lights finally came down and Passion Pit walked on stage, the anticipation was palpable and those around me were ready to dance. However, Passion Pit started their set with ‘I’ve Got Your Number, which is off of their “EP Chunk of Change.” This number is not as well known as many of their others and is, admittedly, not the most high-energy opener. It was not the strongest choice for an opening number, especially given all of the build-up. The band recovered quickly, though, when they burst into ‘Make Light’ from the 2009 album “Manners.” The first half of the set continued with the lesser-known songs including ‘Moth’s Wings,’ ‘Swimming in the Flood,’ and ‘Better Things,’ which also comes from EP. Despite playing their smaller hits, Passion Pit kept the crowd dancing.
Since Passion Pit got its start at Emerson and Berklee Colleges, Angelakos kept repeating how grateful they were to be back in Boston. He called this show a ‘homecoming’ of sorts, which is especially meaningful since the band has been touring since mid-2009. Unfortunately, all of that touring seems to have taken a toll on Angelakos’ voice, which is characterized by a very distinctive falsetto. On a few songs, including ‘Little Secrets’ and ‘The Reeling’, he dropped down the octave or slightly changed the melody to accommodate his voice. Angelakos’ voice also sounded thinner than it does on the recordings, which is not to criticize him as a performer. In fact, Angelakos’ banter made for some entertaining moments, including his comments about the irony being a college dropout and performing on a College Consciousness Tour.
It is also fortunate that Angelakos had a good sense of humor because by the second half of the set, the sweat and the heat in the gymnasium had become oppressive. Members of the crowd around me began taking shirts off at this point, and a white towel became Angelakos’ newest prop. And as the Cage quickly turned into a Turkish bathhouse, Passion Pit started playing their bigger hits. The band ended their official set with a rendition of ‘Little Secrets’ that got everyone dancing in spite of the humidity. When they came back onstage for their encore, they covered the Cranberries’ ‘Dreams,’ which has become standard practice at their live shows. This moment was a crowd favorite, but the dancing reached a fever pitch when Passion Pit finally launched into ‘Sleepyhead.’ Everyone in the crowd had been anticipating this moment, and it was well worth the wait. Even the most pedestrian fans of the band were able to overcome the overwhelming heat and dance for this song. Passion Pit left the stage with a hearty thank you and a shout-out to Boston, and the crowd left the Cage drenched in sweat but perfectly content.
So it was really sweaty, but that’s Tufts for you.