Passion In The Pit With Passion Pit And Phoenix
By ZOE RHINEHART
Brilliant lights, deafening music, and the rowdy roar of a crowd stirred Central Park, usually a tranquil place for New Yorkers to relax, on September 25. The raucous electro pop group, Passion Pit and French alt rock sensation, Phoenix played a sold out show there that night and awakened the mass that had come to see them perform. With twinkling stars and skyscrapers in the distance, this indie dream team entranced their fans with their unique sounds and made them move all night long.
Passion Pit took the stage first, just as the sky had begun to grow dark, and the crowd restless. Using tinkling keyboards, addictive drumbeats, and the simple plucks of bass strings, Passion Pit induced, at the very least, instant foot tapping in every person in the crowd. As the set progressed, they seemed to have the entire crowd jumping and shouting along with lead singer, Michael Angelakos, whose passionate cries and high-pitched croons stole the show. That is, until the microphones cut and his voice disappeared. Then, laughing, Angelakos threw his hands in the air and led the crowd in steady handclapping that synchronized with the keyboard’s pulse. “This is what happens,” he chuckled, “when you get a little rough.“
Once the mikes came back on, Passion Pit continued to play favorites such as “Make Light,” “Sleepyhead,” and “Little Secrets,” which they dedicated to Phoenix, among other soaring tracks from their latest album, Manners. Meanwhile, Angelakos continued to twirl his mike and strut around the stage while he sang, his curly hair bobbing along with his steps. He only faltered once, when he stopped to marvel at a glow stick that had been thrown onstage. “Glow sticks in Central Park? I like it!” he exclaimed as he waved it around, and as the group of teenagers behind me, who I learned had bought them and thrown them into the massive throng, screamed.
By the time Phoenix stepped onstage, the crowd was giddy, their relentless dancing offsetting the slight autumn chill. Deafening cheers and shouts greeted the four quiet Frenchmen that make up Phoenix, and the clamor only got louder when they launched into “Lisztomania,” the song that established their success in the United States. They played the majority of the tracks from their most recent album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, and some older tracks, such as “Napoleon Says,” and “Run Run Run” from 2006’s It’s Never Been Like That and 2004’s Alphabetical, respectively. Every song enthralled the audience, and those who weren’t veteran Phoenix fans were still delighted when lead singer, Thomas Mars began to casually croon an older tune.
Mars only addressed the crowd to share truly heartfelt thank yous and encourage clapping along with the music. The loud whirring of the drums and throbbing guitar riffs, that would stomp around the stage if they could, were truly reactive with each other, combining to make a throbbing sound that was both quick and rhythmic in “Consolation Prizes,” and thunderously ethereal, during seven-minute trance-inducers like “Love Like a Sunset.” The show was also littered with instrumental interludes, which showcased Phoenix’s guitarists, Laurent Brancowitz and Christian Mazzalai’s talent and reverberating guitar riffs.
The moment Mars and his band mates began to walk offstage at the end of their set, the massive crowd began screaming for an encore. Phoenix, of course, obliged, whipping the multitude into a frenzy one last time and ending with “1901” which generated the loudest and most ecstatic shouts that the night. Mars had the largest smile on his face during that song, and he emphasized his enthusiasm when he clambered on top of a massive speaker overlooking the audience and dove into the crowd.