Live Review

Passion Pit, Chvrches, Chad Valley, QMU, Glasgow

It’s striking just how much the crowd really do love Passion Pit.

DIY enters the small compact hall of Glasgow’s Queen Margaret University union to be met with banks of keyboards and all manner of gadgetry spanning the entire breadth of the stage. The three acts on stage this evening all share a kinship with electronic music and pop at its most affecting. All three complement each other very well.

Hugo Manuel, aka Chad Valley, operates from a distinctly sparse set up. He is a rather low-key unassuming presence on stage, stood behind a small desk operating samplers, sequencers and such like. When he sings though, his winsome voice fills the room. The early evening crowd are rather lukewarm in response but are soon won over by a clutch of dreamily smooth, balearic tinged, dance pop that warms the chilly November night.

While Chad Valley is offered an appreciative reception, Chvrches are met like returning heroes. This is very much home turf for the electro pop trio. Playing their final hometown show of the year they are in ebullient mood. Singer Lauren Mayberry jokes with the crowd about how she used to come to this venue years ago to hear songs like Drowning Pool’s ‘Bodies’, even performing a very brief snippet of its thrash metal chorus. Chvrches’ music could not, of course, be more different. Theirs is pop at its very finest. Every song performed during their half hour set is filled with innumerable hooks and melodic twists. Finishing with single ‘The Mother We Share’, they elicit a rapturous response from their home crowd. It won’t be too long before they completely outgrow venues like this.

2012 has been a challenging year for Passion Pit. Band leader and all round pop auteur Michael Angelakos has suffered from intermittent bouts of depression and a crushing sense of self-doubt throughout the recording of their second album ’Gossamer’. You get the distinct impression though that he is now in a far happier place. Opening with the bouncy pop rush of ’Take A Walk’ Angelakos is a constant whirl of energy. He bounds across the stage with joyous enthusiasm. The crowd reciprocate it in spades. It’s striking just how much the crowd really do love Passion Pit - almost every song is met with the same ecstatic reaction. The set is a perfectly pitched combination between the highlights of ’Gossamer’ and choice cuts from debut album ’Manners’. The four piece band are incredibly proficient providing a sound backing for Angelakos to engage with the crowd, time and time again he cedes vocals for the crowd to bellow them back at him.

Some of the material here is dark stuff, riven with anxiety and loathing. It’s a testament to Passion Pit’s skill that they can take ostensibly black material and turn it into something celebratory. A final run through of ‘I’ll Be Alright’, ‘Sleepyhead’ and ‘Little Secret’s’ builds to a fittingly euphoric crescendo.

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