Passion Pit are a lesson in modern romance. Ever since I heard their backstory – lead singer Michael Angelakos crafted the EP Chunk of Change as a Valentine’s Day gift for his girlfriend – I knew they would be more to me than just a fling in my musical lifetime. But I never imagined my first close encounter with them would pan out like a fairy tale of its own.
The show was sold out when my companion (I’ll call her Merv) and I arrived at Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ottawa’s go-to live music club. It was shocking enough that a band this sought-after detoured so far into Canada, and even more surprising that the resident’s of Ottawa had enough forethought to buy advance tickets. Not about to give up on our night, Merv and I stuck it out in line until a lush pair of hipsters were escorted from the premises, freeing up some elbow room for the two of us.
The timing could hardly have been more perfect: Passion Pit hit the stage the moment Merv and I were safely inside. They played “Moth’s Wings” and “The Reeling”, and captured the layered essence of their recordings by cramming the stage with a drum kit, synthesizers and more than one stringed instrument. Angelakos sauntered about the clutter, exuding a sort of romantic sex appeal that comes only from a hairy-chested twenty-something singing love songs in falsetto. He hardly spoke a word to the crowd until he announced the last song, “Sleepyhead”, and yet the crowd was hanging on every pulse of the music.