6/3 – Harlem Shakes & Passion Pit @ Emos

pp4Unfortunately, the line at Emos was ungodly long, despite the fact that doors opened a full hour before the show, itself, began. For this reason, and this reason alone, we were unable to catch Cale Parks, as we still waiting in line for our turn to get in the show. Long lines should have been an indicator for the kind of night everyone was in for at Emos.  Follow the jump for more.

Luckily, we were able to watch the entire Harlem Shakes set, which, in all honesty, interested us more than Passion Pit.  Their debut album Technicolor Heatlh was everything a debut album should be; it was full of exuberance and great promise, an indicator of great things to come in the future.

Everything that was visible on the album played out perfectly on stage.  Mutliple instruments, such as sax and flute were utilized to recreate the band’s sound.  Live, they sounded precisely like what one would expect had you been familiar with their album prior to heading to the show.  Due to the sound, the electronic elements that are present were drowned out by the hordes of people, which demonstrated the true harmonies that exist with the band; this paints a picture of bright future for a band that relies upon more than just electronics.  Singer Lexy did a great job maneuvering his voice across the various pitches and tones, though he didn’t seem to be totally enthralled by the live performance itself.  This is the one detractor from the band, at least on this night, as they seemed a bit disinterested at points.  Still, when they played songs like “Sunlight” it was hard not to feel the exuberance of all present.

After the solid set by Harlem Shakes, it was time for the main act of the evening to take the stage.  First, a brief comment on the stage set-up of the band.  It seems odd that the singer would set up his instrument, or keyboards, facing the wall, as he ignored half the audience, which was probably more considering the throngs of people spilled out to the bleachers.  Personally, it’s just not that interesting to watch the back of a frontman for an entire set, but I have a feeling that I was the only person feeling this way.

From the instant the group took to the stage, everyone was overjoyed.  Hands were in the air, bouncing enthusiastically as sweat dripped down from the rafters.  Of course, hits such as “Moth Wings,” “The Reeling” and “Sleepyhead” got the most crowd participation, though everyone in attendance seemed to enjoy themselves throughout the entire set.  Fans of the band definitely go precisely what they deserved, or at least what they wanted.

However, there are some minor quips for the live setting of Passion Pit as exhibited by the show at Emos.  First, whoever is running sound for the band needs a new job, as they bass was ridiculous, rendering every other instrument obsolete.  Sure, you could feel the beat, and those familiar with the songs knew where they were going, but it was all too much.  It made the band come off as if they were a bunch of teenage kids twiddling knobs at a really shitty rave; it was a really shitty rave. On top of the bass, you could clearly see that the vocals just don’t hold much water.  Angelakos just doesn’t seem to hold the sway in the live setting that he has with a mixing board at his control.  Combine these two elements together and it just didn’t seem to be a cohesive sound that the band recreated live.

Perhaps I’m the jaded one, as  I didn’t have my hands in the air as the rest of the crowd bounced along.  Honestly, I was a little bored by it all.  It was far from interesting, and various faults in the band were blatantly obvious in such a setting.  But, at least Harlem Shakes lived up to the hype in my head.

Photos provided by the lovely Jonathon Edwards.  Give him a shout on myspace.


  • so, nathan, i guess you didn’t like the setup. gees, i hope they read this and change it right away for you next time they’re in town … since you were the only one there without your hands up in the air.

  • I’m kind of hoping they read this and realize, like everyone else, that they have very little talent and shouldn’t play anymore at all, but that could just be me. But if they do come back, I will bring my glow sticks and my 13 year old nieces.

  • Passion Pit is an excellent band
    The sound quality is not the fault of Passion Pit…Emos is an outdoor, rundown venue….but That exactly what I was expecting going into the concert. I didnt expect to hear persice sounds and every single word shouted from the band…It was a rock show man…its supposed to sound different live than on a cd because theres more feeling to it. I think you have your head up your ass and are just mad that Passion Pit is getting alot of hype and you just want to be the “different” one and say “ehh it wasnt that good” because EVERYONE ELSE AT THE SHOW enjoyed it.

    the show was abesolutely amazing and I strongly suggest going to a Passion Pit show

  • I was bored too. The sound guy didn’t help either.
    Check out my review at http://climbinginskirts.com/2009/06/04/passion-pitharlem-shakes/

  • nathan.lankford

    First, let’s just take a look at my review of the band’s record. I do not particularly enjoy it, though there are perhaps one or two BRIEF glimmers of hope. The band isn’t interesting to me, and like MGMT, they have a few good songs in a row, and just BORE me to death.

    Second, let’s look at other recent reviews of bands who I do love who happen to put out creative pieces of work, and get praised and hyped. Grizzly Bear blew me away, as did Animal Collective, despite their hype! I am not really trying to be different so much as trying to figure out why people like this. It’s no good.

    Third, the sound is the band’s fault. As most people know, a touring act, especially one of this size, will be bringing their own sound guy. That is their job, not Emos. If they knew what they were doing, and weren’t as underwhelming as I have posed, that problem might have been resolved.

    Fourth, two guys in the band actually play instruments. The others play samples and yell like prepubescent children. Give me a break. Lame. It’s not music, it’s a rave. Give me a real DJ any day.

  • Nathan…don’t forget your pacifier/jug o’ water. I came to this show without any preconceived notion of what Passion Pit would sound like and was less than pleased. As much as I like to wait for big name bands like N.E.R.D. to warm up their ‘instruments’ (ray ray you know what I’m talking about) it was extremely annoying to wait for a ‘young’ ‘hip’ ‘band’ (am I over using quotation marks?) to ‘ready’ their ‘gear’…sorry, ‘instruments’ By the way, I’m very curious, do you think the guys of Passion Pit ‘hangout’ with their fans after their shows? cause if they do, I have so much more appreciation for them, that is if they can understand anything they’re saying.

    Mike, I’m sure you have very good taste when it comes to music/live acts but really, Emos has hosted one of the best shows this guys ever seen. Maybe you’ve heard of them, Ghostland Observatory. If you’ve had the pleasure of hearing Aaron Behrens belt out a rendition of Silver City you’d know that you could hear ‘persice sounds’ and ‘every single word’ shouted from the band. So don’t go blaming Emos ‘poor sound quality’ Also Nathan, If you do in fact have your head up you ass, I know a real good doctor that would be more than happy to help you out with the removal of said head.

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