Passion Pit to pop by Pearl Street on Patriots’ Day

By Acacia DiCiaccio

Anyone who loves electronic music and/or dance parties is a likely candidate for enjoying themselves extravagantly at Passion Pit’s concert on Monday night. For those who haven’t already heard, the indie pop band is paying a much anticipated visit to the Pearl Street ballroom in Northampton this Patriots’ Day.

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Passion Pit was born in 2007 as a Valentine’s Day present to the then-girlfriend of Cambridge native Michael Angelakos. While those early recordings are no Marvin Gaye panty-droppers, one listen to Angelakos’ undeniable talent is enough to make you swoon. That’s probably why Passion Pit rather suddenly became a big fat blip on hipster radars, at least until his popularity reached a critical mass, of course.

At age 20, Angelakos signed with the indie label Frenchkiss while still mixing in his dorm room. Soon thereafter, he recorded his first EP, “Chunk of Change,” with exuberant tracks sometimes resembling video game music.

When Angelakos started performing regularly, the Passion Pit morphed from a one-man-and-his-laptop project to a full band, making for a much more fleshed out concert experience. Added to Angelakos’ vocals were Ian Hultquist on the keyboard and guitar, Ayad Al Adhamy doing synthesizers, Jeff Apruzzese on bass and Nathan Donmoyer on the drums. With its new lineup, Passion Pit quickly found spots opening for popular indie bands like Death Cab for Cutie and Girl Talk.

The band recorded a full-length album titled “Manners” in 2009 that proved to be more sophisticated than the early EP. The song “Sleepyhead” gained resounding success, reaching the mainstream radio waves and even MTV. “Manners” also made its way to iTunes’ “Best of the 2000s” list. The band has also performed at popular music festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo and the Glastonbury Festival, and the group is scheduled to play Lollapalooza this year.

Passion Pit’s sound can be described as electronic, childlike, upbeat dance-pop. But words barely suffice to describe the band’s uniquely expansive melodies.

Lately, the band seems to have dropped off the planet, and despite their success, Passion Pit has recorded nothing new since 2009 – their website bio still thinks it is 2010. But we have a hunch the band is brewing something new, especially if they are on tour again. Their website’s news section proves to be pretty bare, so any rumors of new album releases will have to wait to hopefully be confirmed at the concert.

Live recordings have demonstrated the fervor that tends to build in the crowd at a Passion Pit show. So if you are looking for something fun to do as an end to your Monday holiday, hop on the B43 and visit the Pearl Street ballroom. Tickets are $28.50 or $33 at the door.

The opening act, an afrobeat band called EMEFE, seems to have too many members to fit on the small Pearl Street stage, but their mission to educate the public about their lesser-known genre of music, exemplified by legends like Fela Kuti and Tony Allen, supersedes logistical considerations like the size of the stage. EMEFE opens the set at 8:00 p.m.

Acacia DiCiaccio can be reached at [email protected]