As a mixture of stage lights and roughly 20 glowing orbs illuminated the stage, a notably female-sounding screech was emitted by the crowd.
If you were a passerby unaware of the group about to perform, you may have thought that next week's 98 Degrees, New Kids on the Block and Boyz II Men concert had just begun. Instead, the five members of Cambridge, Mass.-based Passion Pit took to the stage, ready to rock for the legion of tweens and scattered group of 20-somethings who packed in Stage AE Thursday night.
"Look at me oh look at me/Is this the way I'll always be?" sung lead singer and backup keyboardist Michael Angelakos, his voice raising to octaves most vocalists wouldn't dream of for the group's rendition of "The Reeling," the first single off their 2009 album "Manners."
Even though the fans clapped their hands and voiced their approval of this and every other song, belting out most choruses -- including the ensuing "oh no-o-o, oh no-o-o" that follows in "The Reeling" -- Passion Pit's performance had one major flaw: A plateauing level of excitement.
With each new track, Angelakos' light blue button-down shirt became darker and darker thanks to the sweat he worked up jumping back and forth across the stage. "I get carried away, carried away from you," he sung, as his blue and white tie bobbed up and down, matching his foot-stomping, high-jumping antics during the group's performance of "Carried Away."
Each high note was hit, seemingly with ease, and the almost otherworldly sounds emitted from Xavier Singh's synthesizer gave the group a synth-pop sound that mankind has attempted to perfect since the '80s. But like many aspects of Passion Pit's performance, the pros are closely connected to the cons, as Angelakos' high-pitched vocals made the group's intelligent lyrics hard to discern and the band's energy level never reached a true high point.
This is one of the many problems with seeing a synth-pop group live. The songs are almost always delivered in the manner in which you heard them on the CD, giving fans the quality they expect, but aside from an impressive light show, which carried on throughout the entirety of the performance, Passion Pit offered few of the little things that make concert-going so special.
As the sweat stains on Angelakos' shirt moved from an isolated area on his back to his chest and shoulders, Passion Pit performed more of their hits, both old and new, including the 2008 track "Sleepyhead" and last year's commercially successful track, "Take a Walk."
With the backing of the crowd, Passion Pit should have had no problem its their energy level to new heights as the concert progressed, but each new song brought on the same rise and fall without the type of definitive climax that causes fans to talk about a show long after its end.
Only the group's encore, "Little Secrets," broke the mold, ending with a spirited frenzy of cymbal crashes from drummer Nate Donmoyer, along with simultaneous instrumental outbursts by every member of the band. This too was marred by a reappearance that occurred too soon after the band's initial exit from the stage, adding to what has become an expected trend by today's more popular groups.
Andrew Gretchko: firstname.lastname@example.org.