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Show Review: Passion Pit, Matt & Kim, and Icona Pop at Compuware Arena 2/21/13

Passion Pit played a sold out show on Thursday evening with special guests Matt & Kim and Icona Pop at Plymouth’s Compuware Arena. This is the most ambitious tour that Passion Pit have headlined thus far, playing arenas instead of medium sized theatres. They recently filled New York’s legendary Madison Square Garden to much fanfare and media coverage, which is an impressive feat for an indie-tinged bill.  On stage, Passion Pit’s musical sensibility is very true to their recordings, with subtle instrumental changes taking place. Passion Pit played a set featuring stand out tracks from Manners and their follow-up, Gossamer. Live, lead singer, Michael Angelokos is known for frantically pacing back and forth across the stage during every single song.  Angelokos’s pacing helps the band set the lively tone of their show.

The audience exploded during songs like “The Reeling”  “Carried Away”, and “American Blood”.  During “Take A Walk”, the bands biggest hit to date, Passion Pit utilized an endless brigade of bubble making machines turning the arena into a 3-year-olds fantasy. Angelokos carries each song in his trademark falsetto, from the more soulful songs to the more rock styled. Unlike some shows that I’ve attended, there didn't seem to be a lull during the show, the entire show was pure liveliness and fun, even with the songs focusing on more serious subject matter.  The staging on this tour is stunning, from the color changing spheres sitting on stage, to the lighting used throughout the show. Passion Pit concluded their set with “Sleepyhead” from their debut Manners, fans were definitely pleased and walked out of the show with plenty of melody's stuck in their heads.

Enough can’t be said about the live show from main opener, Brooklyn’s Matt & Kim. Matt & Kim always play to impress, changing up song arrangements, throwing in punch lines, breaking into cover songs and throwing an all-out dance party.  For a two person group their energy rivals bands much larger and much better known. Matt & Kim are currently touring in support of 2012's, Lightning. Both band members have a fondness for standing on things; let it be drum sets, stools, or the crowd itself. At one point in the show, Kim walked above the crowd using the power of the audience's strength.  Kim had been sidelined on Tuesday evening by a stomach flu which canceled that evenings performance, though you would never be able to tell that from this shows energy level. Matt & Kim opened the show with a roaring take on “Block After Block”, which received much cheer from the still filtering in crowd. They continued their set with many fan favorites including “Cameras”, “Let’s Go” and “Good Ol' Fashion Nightmare”.

Matt & Kim have a knack for making easy to sing along with pop music, which pays off immensely during live performances. The band performed with 2 very large LED screens behind them showing live images of the Matt & Kim and other graphics.  They continued with “Good For Great” which seemed to have been sped up to about double time, this new speed was perfect for the energy flowing through the arena. One of Matt & Kim’s strong suits is their breaks between songs, which tonight covered DJ Kool’s “Let Me Clear My Throat”, Alice Deejay’s “Better Off Alone” and Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode”. They even threw in a trap break for current internet rage and Billboard’s current number #1 song “The Harlem Shake” by Baauer. They closed the evening with "Daylight", which is still perhaps their best known song. 

On the verge Swedish electro pop duo, Icona Pop, opened the evening’s festivities. They currently have a hit with the bratty, revenge single “I Love It” featuring Charli XCX. The song is currently racing up iTunes and the radio charts due to its inclusion on a recent episode of HBO’s hit series “Girls”. They played a brief set which included “Nights Like This” and “Manners”, which hip-hop act Chiddy Bang sampled on 2012’s “Mind Your Manners”. On stage, the duo exudes fun and sexuality. Be on the lookout for much to come from Icona Pop in 2013.