Passion Pit, The Joy Formidable, Max Tundra

Hugh Worskett 27/10/2009

First up, my thanks to the bloke on the door who decided to take matters into his own hands and let me in without tickets having discovered a fantastically irritating cock-up that nearly meant no gig for either me or my guest and seemed to involve no one talking to anyone else about anything to do with press passes despite it being their job.

The irritation that this provoked soon turned to a weird and twisted mirth when I found out I'd have to pay 3.90 for every beery step I wished to take on the road to intoxication. Sound tracked by the horrific Max Tundra, who thought singing the Sound Of Music over the top of an electro-pop backing track was a good thing, things really couldn't get much worse. But then I ended up shouting down a phone (to be heard over the noise) counselling my sister over a particularly fractious break-up. Oh Joy.

But through the clouds of despondency broke a ray of light that came to rest upon a grub turning into a butterfly both of which are representative of, if you've lost track, my sudden change in mood. As the Joy Formidable took to the stage and started powering out their whirling dervish of a noise my friend showered me in a free beer to celebrate the resurrection of the evening. Hallelujah. And at that point everything seemed just that little bit better.

The Joy Formidable's music is simple and the execution spot on. Lead singer Ritzy looked great playing guitar, strutting about in her heels and generally epitomising sex. Hurling her guitar into the amplifier only to whip it back across the floor by its lead into her waiting hands, I felt helpless and transfixed, my mind boggling at the innuendo of it all. A great band, some great playing (kudos to the drummer), and hopefully great things to come.

Next up the headliners, Passion Pit. Their name disgusts me, not because I'm a prude, but because, come on, who seriously thinks it's a good idea to name your band after a vagina? Answer: probably someone who puts female genitalia on a pedestal whilst never actually having had any first-hand experience of some. “Hey let's call our band Passion Pit! Giggle.” Anyway, semantics aside, I rather enjoyed this. Passion Pit sounded great, benefitting from the always good Koko sound system. Warm synth sounds danced around the catchy melodies while front man Michael Angelakos displayed a unique and strong falsetto that was deployed devastatingly at times although at others was used gratuitously and unsparingly. My impressedness (yes that is a word, or at least it is now) was marred somewhat however by the Canadian next to me who pointed out that Angelakos bore much in common with Mika, both in falsetto and in general campness. Now I'm all for campness, bring on the pink etc. etc. but it did get a little wearing after 45 minutes. The set didn't have much variety either. How about a slow one guys? No? We're going to bounce around to synthy beats for the next song too? Sigh. Bounce, bounce. I'm tired and lacking in teenage self-belief and invincibility. Can I go sit down at the back? Thank you.

Yes, so anyway. Passion Pit were good: a spot on live act, well worth the night out. It didn't excite me too much at any given point although I suspect that's just the lack of chemistry existing between me and the ageing process more than anything else. Plenty of other people were very excited though so I'd gauge things by their level of bouncing up and down. On a scale of 'collapsed on the ground' to 'stuck to the ceiling' I'd certainly say Passion Pit were hanging up somewhere round the rafters.