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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

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It is no little secret: Passion Pit rocked The Riverside with endless energy

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The line headed from the doors of the Riverside towards the Wisconsin Avenue bridge started forming at around 3 PM. Teenagers lined up hours before doors even opened to be up against the stage for Passion Pit, who were making their return to Milwaukee after their July release of Gossamer. Thus the pit at last night's show (and yes, it was indeed very passionate) was filled with a very young crowd who were willing to withstand evening temperatures during a Wisconsin autumn to be up close and personal with the group everyone was eager to see.

I think it's safe to say being up close was worth it, if you were a high school kid. I was severely surprised by the amount of obnoxious teenybops who overpowered the audience last night. I had to move from being second row closer to the back of the pit so that I didn't have an eighth grader screaming in my ear but rather could actually hear lead singer Michael Angelakos sing.

Although, in complete honesty, his vocals seemed off last night - something about the sound not being quite right, or the instruments overpowering his microphone, made bits and pieces of songs come and go with no sort of consistency to make what they played last night comparable to the studio version. And with an electropop group like Passion Pit, that is indeed what one desires. But one also desires to dance, and there was plenty of that to go around last night. Both first floor and balcony seating were up on their feet all night, appropriately so.

Despite a lack of balance in certain acoustics, many factions that make up the unique sophomore album Gossamer were beautifully translated live. A kind of heart-wrenching "we've all been there" camaraderie exists in the lyrics (some of which are really horribly depressing if you listen closely) and is directly juxtaposed with the upbeat characteristic of Passion Pit's sound. So hits like "It's Not My Fault I'm Happy" had everyone dancing, but simultaneously had me almost crying ("it's not fair, it's not fair, still I'm the only one who seems to care"). Everyone joined in for the lyrics of "Carried Away" at the point of "we all have problems, we're all having problems, and we all got something to say." Humans, love, life, the struggles along the way, but hey let's dance to it -- that's Gossamer, that was last night's show.

They of course played popular songs from their debut Manners and three songs from their EP Chunk of Change (including "Smile Upon Me," which personally was the most stunning played song of the evening). This of course included "Sleepyhead," which is the single that brought the group to fame. This hit included confetti streamers which filled the floor crowd with insane ecstasy. It was perfectly timed and a great way to end their set before their encore which included "Moth's Wings" and, of course, "Little Secrets" (see my compiled setlist at the end of this post).

The lights for this show perhaps get a solo mention: they replicated the pink haze of the cover art for their album Gossamer, and lived up to the album title as well. Seemingly delicate, full of airy particles, and spinning everywhere just like a cobweb spun by a spider. They were captivating and crazy when needed, they were colorful and geometric and filled the venue just as equally as the sound.

Their lights are always one of the more fun aspects to their shows. I have seen them previously, when they came to Summerfest in 2010. It was an immaculate show, where they played almost all of Manners and Chunk of Change. I'm sorry to say that this show was perhaps not as good as the other I had been to, but the energy was double and of course the set longer. Passion Pit delivered last night and are sure to return to Milwaukee again for even more fun each time they come back.

SETLIST

Take A Walk
The Reeling
Eyes As Candles
It's Not My Fault, I'm Happy
Carried Away
Better Things
Let Your Love Grow Tall
To Kindgom Come
Constant Conversations
Mirrored Sea
Smile Upon Me
Folds In Your Hands
Love Is Greed
I'll Be Alright
Sleepyhead

(Encore)
Moth's Wings
Little Secrets

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