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Show Review: Passion Pit rediscover the joy of touring at Phoenix opener

“Ever since Manners came out, all I could talk about was how much I hated touring,” Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos told Tempe’s Marquee Theater on Tuesday night. “You guys have no idea how good this feels.”

Angelakos basked in the cheers of his fans, most of whom have been supporting his journey for at least ten years, and the later it got the more he couldn’t stop smiling. The reminder that touring is worth its many struggles was a fitting start to the Manners 10 Years Anniversary Tour, which is crossing the U.S. and Canada all summer.

It’s a huge move for the band, who stepped back from touring a few years ago when Angelakos released a statement about its negative impact on his mental health. His time in the spotlight has been a rollercoaster, and he redirected his efforts to activism. Specifically, The Wishart Group was founded to provide healthcare, legal, educational and other services to artists. That was two years ago, and Passion Pit has only made short runs since then.

But now, Passion Pit has rediscovered the power of a live show, especially when it features the nostalgia and celebration of an iconic album like Manners that defines an era for the fans.

Toronto-based alt rock band The Beaches were a fitting choice for direct support. The up-and-comers have been gaining traction since releasing their debut, Late Show, in 2017 and showcased their pop punk roots by absolutely shredding through their set. Vocalist Jordan Miller and keyboardist Leandra Earl went back and forth sharing the front of the stage, adding some charisma to the rock & roll but remaining mysterious and focused. These girls weren’t there to fuck around.

They prove it on stage just as in their lyrics—new single “Snake Tongue” in particular is a hard-hitting rock track that chronicles the ways the band is taking back control and prioritizing empowerment in the face of unwanted advances, misogyny, and everything that comes with it.

Soon it was clear that these reverberating riffs were the perfect pregame for Passion Pit and brought the energy of the venue up to that tense, anticipating moment before the band stepped on stage.

Angelakos must have felt it, too, because he wasted no time leading his band straight into “Make Light” and then the rest of Manners in full. And with each uproar between songs, he drew more vivacity, running and jumping and swinging his mic around like a lasso. The crowd was singing in all the right places, and there was a rare harmony across the whole room.

After a quick break, Passion Pit came back for an emotional run through the rest of the hits: “Lifted UP (1985)” from Kindred and “Constant Conversations” and “Carried Away” from Gossamer. Angelakos confessed he thought he’d be touring for free, that he never imagined hearing his lyrics sung back to him, and how surreal the night had been for him. Sure, you hear that a lot from artists, but it never gets old to see them sincerely amazed.

There was only one more song to play after that, and the crowd held their breath. The first notes of “Take a Walk” shimmered through the air, and the dancing didn’t stop until the house lights came on. At least for the time being, Passion Pit is back, and the ten year party is one you can’t miss.

Story and photos by Taylor Gilliam

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