Passion Pit is a band that started as one man’s Valentine’s Day present to a girl and has evolved into a 5-man band whose sweetly hypnotic song “Sleepyhead” found its way into a Palm Pixi ad and whose current tour has been selling out left and right, including the Tampa stop.

I personally have the worst luck getting into the Ritz smoothly. Don’t get me wrong, I love this venue and all the people there, but lemme tell you, if you have a ticket with will call or are supposed to be on a list, bring a receipt, a confirmation email, and a blood sample. By the time the cavity search was over (I’ll always remember our time together, Helga) I’d missed the first opening band, Brahms. A couple friends had seen the tour in Miami the night before and had told me that they were great, so I went to their site and signed up for the 4 free mp3’s they were offering. After I close on my house this week I have promised myself I’d find some quiet time to listen to them.

Next up was the Canadian foursome Tokyo Police Club, the band that I was actually the most excited to see.  It’s been 2 years since their last effort, which I adored, so when I saw they were touring with Passion Pit I was thrilled. I honestly had never expected that they would come to my home town, so when they played almost the entire first album, I was ecstatic. The crowd was packed into the theater for most of their set, though you could tell many of them hadn’t yet heard TPC. While my friends and I were in the balcony bouncing to “Your English is Good”, much of the crowd down below were standing like statues, though there was definitely a loud, albeit still smallish, contingent of fans scattered about down there, too. The band didn’t give up on the crowd, though, and when they asked us all to clap during “Citizens of Tomorrow”, your classic song about robots taking over the world and enslaving all humans, there were waves of hands clapping along. They worked so hard, in fact, that singer/bassist Dave Monks broke a string right before the chorus of “Wait Up” and had to have another bass rushed out to him, which he promptly threw on and finished the song. I’ve only had a chance to give their new album a couple listens, but the new songs sounded great live and I can’t wait to get to spend some more time with them.

Now, if you’ve never been to a sold out show at the Ritz in the summer it’s kinda hard to describe. Unless, that is, you’ve been in a sauna with 1000 15 year olds. Then you know exactly what it’s like. The air was so thick from the humidity it was like they were running a fog machine filled with sweat and beer. The opening band hadn’t even hit the stage yet and I saw a girl already being carried out. Pffft, amateurs. Then Passion Pit took to the stage and the whole place officially went batshit crazy. Throughout all 14 songs, including a 3 song encore, lead singer Michael Angelakos sang his discotastic falsetto guts out and the crowd sang back at him as loudly as they could muster. Angelakos seemed genuinely touched by the crowd’s response and made a point of sincerely thanking them. I however, couldn’t see shit (insert Ray Charles meme here). The balcony where I’d watched TPC was now off limits and I couldn’t even see the drummer from the back of the venue, so it was pretty much like listening to the album in the shower, just with way better lighting. Not only could I not see the stage, but the ice-cold vodka at Czar right across the street was calling my name, so I was just about to head out a little early. Just then they started playing “Sleepyhead” and everyone in the front bar of The Ritz collectively put out their cigarettes (no smoking is allowed in the theater) and hauled ass to catch this song. That is one catchy fucking tune, and it lured me back as near as the entry to the theater, and standing there I watched the backs of hundreds of heads bob in unison. I’m glad I stuck around, but take it from me, if you get a chance to buy the balcony upgrade, DO IT.

You can see more pix from the show here.


I have been a huge Elbow fan for years but had never been able to get to one of their shows, so when I saw that they would be opening for Coldplay I thought 2 things: hooray for finally getting to see this band that I love, and boo for having to see them as an opener for Coldplay.  Then they announced that they were going to do a small handful of headlining shows in the US, the closest one to me being in Atlanta, and I was ecstatic.  I bought my $20 tickets, booked a hotel room and started counting the days until the show.

Suddenly 4 months had passed and we were driving past the venue looking for a parking space, eyeballing at the line of people leading from the doors of the Center Stage theater as it stretched down the street to the corner and starting to make a right angle down the block.  We were there 30 minutes before doors and there had to already be 50+ people there ahead of us, so I resigned myself right there to the fact that I was never going to get anywhere near the stage.  When the doors finally opened and we got inside the venue, I was amazed that there was hardly anyone down on the floor in front of the stage, instead people had gone the seats.  Their laziness was my gain and I took my place up at the front.  Killing time (and vodka) before the show, I chatted with the people around me.  Turns out I was not only not the only one to have traveled to the show, I had not even remotely traveled the farthest as I ended up striking up a conversation with someone from Portland who had seen them all over the country.  “See?” I told my boyfriend, “I’m not crazy.”  He simply countered that I was just not the craziEST.  Fair enough.

Right on time Guy Garvey, Elbow’s frontman, came out to introduce their opener, Jesca Hoop.  He joked that she doesn’t have a band because they weren’t going to pay for one then out came an unassuming chick with a guitar.  She reminded me of Regina Spektor with a touch more white chick soul.  Not Janis soul, maybe more like Joni- or Judy-type soul.

Finally it was time for the main act and they opened the show with a bang, or rather a blare.  Five band members with trumpets lined the front of stage and kicked off “Starlings” to a cheering crowd that had finally gotten out of their seats and filled up the floor.  The small stage in this intimate 1100 capacity venue was also full, with the 5 members of Elbow with their guitars, drums, keyboards, horns, etc, plus 2 (rather well-endowed) violinists.  Guy worked the crowd like a carnival barker, joking around and even giving props to a girl who held up a sign taking credit for a thread on their message board that praised keyboardist Craig Potter.  And there were singalongs.  Lots of them.  And I love that shit.  I love being a part of a chorus of thousands (or in this case hundreds), especially when it’s to music from a band I adore.

As we all sang along to the chorus of “On A Day Like This”, I knew that this moment in time is why we drove 7 1/2 hours for 3 1/2 hours of Elbow, and it was soooo well worth it.  Yep, this show was pretty much perfect, I even got a setlist.  Oh yes, I went full teenage fangirl for this show and I’m proud of it.  I’ve already warned the boyfriend that I fully intend to travel as far as needed to see them should they come back across the pond, and they’re so good I’d even consider still seeing them as an opener if they come back when Coldplay reschedules their Tampa show.  Maybe.

We didn’t know Elbow had a relaxed camera policy so we’d left the SLR at the hotel, so forgive the uber graininess but you can see more pix from the show here.

Elbow – On A Day Like This
Elbow – Starlings