First, I will point out that the Fox Theater is one of my favorite places to shoot. Photographing there is always a pleasure. I get into my groove and often find myself dancing in the pit, along with the front row. Last night was no different – for me at least. At first, the audience’s energy was as high as usual. Lead vocalist and keyboard player Michael Angelakos and his band took the stage to an expected roar from the young crowd. The ground floor was shaking as they opened with “Make Light” off of their 2009 debut LP Manners. After the initial songs though, the energy in the Fox just wasn’t the same. Maybe it was due to the BART strike that the whole top balcony remained almost-empty, maybe it was because people were saving their energy for the double Kanye West shows in the area this week, but something gave me the impression that the kids here were just not giving the band what they deserved.
I have seen Passion Pit live four times now, and after every show I’m always impressed with what they have to offer. Michael has a great stage presence, he connects with the audience giving them their opportunity to sing into the mic, and he offers his whole body when he dances. I have seen few performers that can match his energy. He even told us that the next time the band would be in the Bay Area, they would have a new album out. That bit of information brought the crowd back from their phones and tweets for one last song to close out that set – “Sleepy Head.” Even with their most popular song, and the high energy on stage, the audience was hesitant to join in. Once that song was over they walked backstage for a moment and, where there should have been full chanting for an encore, there were just a few scattered shouts for more. It was still enough to bring them out and right into “Little Secrets.”
After the show, I couldn’t help but wish that their new album brings back the crowds and energy that I remember from seeing them the first couple times.