The intimate and historic Belasco Theater in Downtown Los Angeles had an intimidating line of people wrapped around the building last Saturday night. Everyone in line was waiting patiently to enter the venue and see one of their long time favorite artists perform live for the first time in years: Passion Pit, Michael Angelakos’ solo indie electronica project of 10 years now. With such a well-produced discography that has continued relevance in today’s indie pop scene, it was no wonder that fans from all over began buying their tickets as soon as Angelakos announced the unexpected tour dates back in 2017 for a string of shows exclusively in intimate venues across the United States. Fans have known for some time that Angelakos suffers from severe bipolar disorder; Angelakos himself is very vocal about bipolar disorder awareness and fundraising for research, and has even created the Wishart Group: a multifaceted support project for protecting the mental health of artists. His disorder makes it especially hard for him to tour since his health in the past has been compromised due to the excessive demands of being on the road for so many days in a row, so when he announced the tour, the importance was not lost on his fans and was heavily anticipated for months in advance for this sold out performance.
As the last stop on their tour, one could feel the energy pulsate through the venue, making for the entrance of Courtship as the primary opener extra sweet. The duo comprised of guitarist Eli Hirsch and keyboardist Micah Gordon met not too long ago through other projects and began creating music together as Courtship in 2016. While the duo is still young in the indie music scene, they did not show any sign of naiveté this night. With dance ready singles and a sweet indie pop sound that sounds just right, Courtship blew everyone away in the packed out venue. Hirsch had incredible stage presence throughout the show, dancing and jumping around stage. He resembled a young Jack Antonoff this night with his genuine enthusiasm for being on stage and overall casual aesthetic. With a great last opening set under their belts, they thanked Passion Pit for allowing them to open, as this was truly a dream come true for these musicians who had grown up listening to this timeless artist.
As Angelakos entered the stage with his live band, the crowd pushed forward and screamed at the sight of Angelakos getting ready for an energy packed set. He kicked off the show with Gossamer favorite “I’ll Be Alright,” causing everyone to dance as wildly as Angelakos himself. He followed boldly by performing all time favorites “Sleepyhead” and “Moth’s Wings” right off the bat, but proved throughout his perfectly mixed set that there was much more to come. The most surprising turn of events in regards to his set though was the complete absence of his self-released album “Tremendous Sea of Love.” This may be due to the intimate nature of the album itself and the overall tone being much more reserved than his more energetic studio albums. Despite the absence of his latest release, Angelakos crafted a brilliantly balanced set list for all levels of fans in the audience, even making reference to his first solo release “Chunk of Change.” He ended their set on “Carried Away,” but made sure to keep a couple favorites for the encore with “Constant Conversations” and the ever uplifting “Take a Walk.” As this was the last night of their tour, Angelakos made a point to thank his live band members as, “[he] wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.”
While this tour is over with no future dates announced yet for Passion Pit, be sure to check out Passion Pit’s “Tremendous Sea of Love,” Angelakos’ solo project released just this past year. Courtship will be touring again beginning March 5th at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago, Illinois, and continuing around the United States. Be sure to check their tour dates for a chance to see them in a city near you, this is a duo you don’t want to miss.
Photos by: Sarah Woods