Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The True Adventures of Passion Pit

WAAAY back in March (12 years ago in indie rock time) I saw a band called Passion Pit at an industry thing called SXSW.

They were good, playing in a hot tent in Austin, part of a BrooklynVegan showcase. I was there, I liked them, I photographed them. The rent-a-stage bounced like a trampoline as Michael Angelakos jumped about singing in high falsetto, leading a charge of three keyboard set-ups and assorted samplers. I remember thinking, "this indie keyboard shit isn't all bad I guess." Halfway into the show at the beginning of a song, the drummer (Nate) stopped the proceedings to re-jig a buggy laptop. A couple more bad starts and Nate just about turned green, Ayad and Jeff cajoled him to continue without it, and it sounded fine. Michael, standing on top of his keyboard bench, was twisting the mic cord around his neck and whipping the mic around like a mace. It caught Jeff on the head and he almost passed out from the combination of heat, fatigue and the blow of a tethered Shure SM-58.

The band was on a list of acts that Rolling Stone wanted covered, speculatively, so I talked to thier manager after the show to see if I could get them toegther for a quick portrait. I like the way musicians look and act after a show, sweaty, blissful and bewildered, but everyone was frazzled, it wasn't the right time and Jeff was still about to faint. The manager handed me a pass for the Spin party the next day, so I would maybe try something there. I had a bit of conversation with Ayad, who was smiling and friendly- but quickly they were off, the boys rolling carts of gear down the alley to the next load-in.

The next day I ran into a couple of them at Stubbs, managed to find thier manager, and we were able to set up a few moments in the back stage area. Most bands are amicable, but you got to push and wait for the right moment to get them all together. Had maybe 3 minutes before the manager was whisking them off someplace else. Good guys, wish them the best.

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