Thursday, February 21, 2013

It's not my fault, I'm happy

While I sometimes like to imagine myself as a "serious" music fan, the truth is I only go to two or three concerts a year. Out of those, I can only think of a handful that I've really enjoyed. Despite various tribulations, including but not limited to fending off some sort of illness that's been with me the past couple weeks, nearly freezing to death in a crowed of hipsters while two street preachers spent an hour telling us we were going to go to hell, almost asphyxiating in a cloud of cannabis smoke, and my Mother getting into a fist fight, the Passion Pit/Matt and Kim concert I went to Monday was one of those.

I'd been listening to Passion Pit since 2010 when they were briefly on tour with Tokyo Police Club. Interestingly, my Mom was actually into them first, as a result of me telling her about TPC and her finding them online. While they're about as far on the electro-pop end of the spectrum as anything I listen to, I've always really enjoyed their music (it's a bit odd to say their I guess, since all "their" recorded stuff is really just the product of Michael Angelakos and his producer).

I guess the thing that usually bothers me about electronic music is that it sounds really good the first time you listen to it but gets old fast. Passion Pit was different in that way for me in that––despite being extremely sugar coated––it had a level of depth to the point that it grew on me over time.

Still, while I loved listening to their albums, they were never really high on my list of bands I'd like to see live––just because I felt it couldn't possibly live up to the records.

So driving to Rochester with a bunch of friends and standing in front of the doors of a place that looked like prison they kept Mr. Toad in in Wind and the Willows in the legendary Rochester cold an hour before the concert while some Baptist with a voice eerily similar to Andre the Giant lambasted us about the evils of alcohol, homosexuality, and apparently indie music, for an hour and a half was more my Mom's idea than mine.

By the time the doors finally opened, I was about ready to collapse and ended up heading to the Balcony. I think I made up some strategic reason why staying there for the first set would let us get closer to the stage in the long run to convince my friends to stay with me (my parents had run off long ago) but the truth is I was just exhausted.

The first set was Icona Pop, which was more of a DJish type gig than a band. Didn't hate it, but it was something I feel I would have enjoyed more in a club or some smaller venue. By the time they were done though, I finally felt decent enough to go down onto the floor, order a drink and squirm my way into the crowed near the stage.

The next group up was Matt and Kim. I'd looked them up online that morning, and honestly their music video left me wondering what to expect and kind of wishing my parents weren't in the same building––even if they were a long way off and getting themselves into way more trouble than I was.

The set started, and wow. Great show. In fact, I have to say Matt and Kim were probably one of the best live shows I've ever seen, and I really started to feel good for the first time all day. They're really not the style of music that I listen to or would consider buying, but when it comes to stage presence, some people just have it. They do.

By their last song, I was feeling good enough that I convinced the people around me to link arms and charge as close to the stage was we could, landing us pretty near front and center for the beginning of Passion Pit.

Now, when I was a kid––as in like four years ago––I seem to remember etiquette for indoor concerts being as follows: You go in the bathroom to do drugs (An ethical standard of behavior immortalized in the lyrics of the band Fun). Apparently America has changed since the days of my comparative youth. As soon as the lights went down for the final set, the cough drop wrappers of suspicious white powder came out, the lighters flared up, and by Passion Pit's third song, the frontal third of the crowed had developed it's own de facto atmosphere of illicit smoke.

There was a time in my life when this would not have phased me in the least. But, being as I am now, done with college, marginally employed and trying to become fully employed, beginning to feel the weight of a repressive and unforgiving society on my shoulders; a society in which men like Andre the Giant with his OKJV Bible out front form political coalitions and back legislation which corporate America, unfettered by the 4th Amendment as regards performing invasive tests upon my body without any reasonable suspicion then feels obliged to take a step further; I beat a hasty retreat for the back of the auditorium.

In the end, the sound-scape was actually much better in the back behind the mixing board where I ultimately sought refuge with a few of my similarly concerned friends. This, as it would turn out, was a good thing, as Passion Pit––despite all my doubts about digitally created music being performed live with real instruments––sounded great. Michael's voice was unbelievable (almost terrifyingly unbelievable), the two synths + guitar, bass and acoustic drums had presence––even on the most produced sounding songs, and I, was glad I came. It was a great experience, and I think for the first time in a couple weeks I was really happy. Maybe not quite as happy as the people in the front, but then, that's not really my fault is it?


Unknown said...

Hahaha those two paragraphs about the drugs cracked me up! Pure gold.

Andrew said...

Thanks, glad it was entertaining :)