On the evening of the Passion Pit/Tokyo Police Club show, the Mann Center for the Performing Art’s outdoor amphitheater was hotter than the backseat of a senior football letterman’s car at the drive-in movies, enough so that about 25 people were crammed into the air-conditioned ATM kiosk at any given time. Standing in the concession line was a feat of endurance. I was pretty certain I’d see a couple tattoo sleeves melting off.
Once the bands’ rhythmic synthesizers and throbbing drums pulsed onstage, however, the sticky Congo-jungle heat didn’t stop the crowd from ignoring their already-smeared eyeliner and start kicking up their heels. Barely legal Canadian post-punk quartet Tokyo Police Club banged out several songs off new album Champ, including “Breakneck Speed,” and maintained its playful energy by electrifying acoustic ballad “Tessellate.” I was impressed with vocalist Dave Monks’ dedication to hipsterdom when he sported a flannel shirt for the entire set in the Mann incinerator.
TPC’s act was a perfect segue into the emotive, chaotic symphony Passion Pit released onto the Urban Outfitted throng. Lead singer Michael Angelakos thanked the audience effusively, mentioning at least four times the fact that the band’s last Philly show took place in a church basement. This night, disco lights illuminated a packed stadium of several thousand fans tossing toys and dollar bills onstage, fans who mouthed the words of songs besides the band’s hit single “Sleepyhead.”
The arena would have swamped most indie acts like a kindergartner playing “house” in her mother’s pearls and pumps, but Passion Pit’s epic electro-synth melodies, robust percussion and spazzy, Björk-like vocals filled out the venue like a Playmate in a double-D brassiere. Similarly, it was hard to concentrate on anything else. Once the strobe lights began flashing and “Little Secrets” came on, even the over-40 gentleman in the tucked LaCoste polo and loafers next to me couldn’t help but flail his arms to the beat.
While the three-year-old group doesn’t have the concert performance experience of road veterans like Green Day or the Pixies, both of whom are touring this summer, those in attendance felt Passion Pit lived up to its name and came away sweaty and satisfied.