Passion Pit “Special DJ Set” – January 25th – Summit Music Hall

Passion Pit

The Scene: The Summit Music Hall filled to a healthy level fairly early last Saturday as fans of Massachusetts-based Indietronica group Passion Pit gathered to see what their “Special DJ Set” was all about. Comprised mostly of hipsters ranging between 18-24 years old, the fashionable attendees brought their boogie pants—and booty shorts—to the party; several girls were sporting high-wasted ultra-short shorts and midriff-bearing tank tops. In January! Ahhh, Denver, you never cease to amuse. The size of the crowd was a pleasant surprise, enough bodies to generate some warmth and create a vibe, and enough room to put those dancing pants (or shorts) to work.

Opener: Black Amex. By 9pm, local DJ duo Black Amex was already in full effect on the stage. The sound system at Summit was just right for the pair’s eclectic sound—a blending of Deep House, Disco, R&B, and old Top 40 hits. Of course, the crowd ate up throwbacks such as “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and Flashdance’s “She’s a Maniac” and they even threw a little Doo-Wop into the mix with a bass-laced version of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me.” The music in between was fairly reminiscent of the Deep House sounds of the 1990s—think Joey Beltram—but would sometimes get poppier and more upbeat. It was varied but it all flowed together nicely—a second pleasant surprise.

Opener: Jeffrey Jerusalem. The next act on the ticket featured the stylings of Denver DJ/producer Jeffrey Jerusalem. Mr. Jerusalem is a busy guy—when he isn’t producing his own music and matching beats, he plays drums for Electro-Pop band Yacht out of Portland, Oregon. His mixes were also eclectic and that previous House beat definitely spilled over into his set—his set was congruent with the first, but the theme of the evening was starting to shape up in a distinctly different fashion that what most initially expected. He was a little heavy on the glitch-factor, but to his credit, also mashed some great tunes into the set—Empire of the Sun, Metallica, Queen and The Beatles were in the mix, all of which elicited heightened responses from the audience.

Passion Pit “Special DJ Set”: The headlining act did not come onstage until well after midnight and by then the crowd was chomping at the bit for some Indietronica. Sadly, the third surprise of the evening was less pleasant than the first two—the so-called “Passion Pit DJ Set” should have probably been called “Special DJ Set by a couple members of Passion Pit playing something totally different than Passion Pit.” It consisted of Passion Pit members Nate Donmoyer (drums) and Jeff Apruzzese (bass) coming out and pushing buttons on a computer to create a sound so far from that of Passion Pit that many felt as if they’d been tricked. The crowd lost about 30 percent of its volume in the first half hour of the set.

That said, the music was great—if you are into House music. In fact, there were some downright gangster moments: Rap samples and heavy bass got the remaining crowd crunking, and there were more chill times too, and then back to the drum-heavy Deep House. It was a good set, but it was anything but Passion Pit. The few of samples from the band’s music (like three) were a paltry offering considering the name on the ticket. The vague online descriptions of the “Special DJ Set,” also point to the idea that this false advertisement was no accident. That being said, it is not surprising that many were disappointed with the performance.

Energy: B
Musicianship: D-
Sound: B
Stage Presence: C-
Set/Lights: C

Overall: C-

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Who Is Jeanette Barrow

Audiophile. Logomaniac. I must get to the show.