Mobile edition | Switch to full site | 33°Partly Cloudy

After Twilight postponement, Passion Pit returns to Salt Lake City

Passion Pit

By david burger

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Feb 27 2013 05:31PM
Updated Feb 28, 2013 04:32PM

Last July, Passion Pit was forced to cancel its Salt Lake City show, part of the Twilight Concert Series, because leader Michael Angelakos needed some time to "improve his mental health," according to a post on the band’s Facebook page.

But the band promised to do "everything we can to try and make it up to you."

Seven months later, Passion Pit has come through. The much-anticipated Utah concert is Saturday at The Complex — and it’s a sold out show.

Passion Pit had just released its second album, "Gossamer," when it was revealed that Angelakos had suffered from bipolar disorder since age 17 and had been on medication as well as through therapy and hospital care.

Despite the setback, keyboard and guitar player Ian Hultquist was confident that Passion Pit — slang for a drive-in theater — still had a future. "I never doubted that Passion Pit wouldn’t stop," he said in a recent telephone interview. "I really wanted [Angelakos] to be better, and he is now."

It was Hultquist who broached the idea of collaborating with Angelakos. While enrolled at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Hultquist saw Angelakos perform solo around Emerson College, where he was a student. (Every member of the band — except for Angelakos — is an alum of Berklee.)

Today, Angelakos handles all of the songwriting duties and nearly all of the studio recording.

Hultquist had not heard "Gossamer" until the sprawling, layered album was being mixed. Initially he thought, "We can never pull this off live."

But he "always believed in the project." He and his bandmates took months learning how to replicate the album’s sound and spirit in a live setting. Much has been made of Angelakos’ delays in finishing the album. But the band was patient.

"I want him to make the best record he can," Hulquist said. "So we can have as much fun onstage."

Opening act • The Brooklyn-based lo-fi pop duo Matt & Kim opens for Passion Pit. In a phone interview, Matt Johnson said the only thing disastrous about the tour has been the weather, which threatened to derail a Madison Square Garden show. "We’ve been traveling in a blizzard for about 10 days now," Johnson remarked on Feb. 18.

The current tour includes songs from the couple’s fourth studio album, "Lightning," released in October. Compared with 2010’s "Sidewalks"— which featured expansive arrangements and expanded into dance-pop — it is a return to the group’s roots.

After "Sidewalks," "We wanted to keep things simple," Johnson said. "Some songs got a little too busy. We lost a little bit of control."

"Lightning," said Johnson, shows the experience that comes from age. "It has some of the most mature songs I’ve ever done, and some of the most immature."

Twitter: @davidburger

Latest in Features
blog comments powered by Disqus