Pillbox

Passion Pit to headline Carnival concert

For many students, the Spring Carnival concert, hosted by AB Concerts, is one of the most exciting parts of Carnival. The combination of the growing expectation of a large concert by a well-known band and the strong sense of tradition associated with Carnival results in an inimitable cohesion within the Carnegie Mellon community. This year, Passion Pit has been chosen to headline the concert, with local indie pop band Donora and WRCT DJ Gusto as opening acts.

Passion Pit began as the solo project of audio engineer, vocalist, and keyboardist Michael Angelakos. His debut EP, Chunk of Change, was originally a gift he had given to his girlfriend that became popular among the student body at Emerson College, where Angelakos was studying at the time. The indie community embraced Passion Pit: a heartwarming conception, a bedroom production, some catchy hooks, and a singer with an endearing (or distracting, depending on your perspective) falsetto. Chunk of Change is pretty much a checklist for indie hype.

What made Chunk of Change truly noteworthy was its sometimes embarrassingly sincere lyrics. In a culture that fully embraces sarcasm and irony, it is rare to find any musician that rejects these values as thoroughly as Angelakos and his band. On 2008’s full-length Manners, the now fully formed Passion Pit reigned in the emotional bombast of the lyrics and produced a collection of nine songs more dynamic than any on Chunk of Change.

It is the unabashed excitement and complete apathy toward trendiness that makes Manners an enjoyable listen even four years after its release. An even stronger testament to Passion Pit’s music is the freshness of the band’s live performance. Since the group began touring in support of Manners, it has only had a catalogue of 15 or so songs to draw upon for their shows. Yet its performances are not simply a musical experience: They are also a kinesthetic one. A Passion Pit concert requires constant motion. Whether it’s jumping, dancing, or moshing, Passion Pit makes its fans want to move.

Passion Pit will be releasing its yet-to-be-named second album later this year. If the group’s concerts in the past months are any indication, Carnegie Mellon students can expect to hear members perform some new material during the upcoming performance.

The selection of Passion Pit for this year’s concert echoes the reality that Carnegie Mellon is not simply a center of innovation for computer science and technology, but also a hub of artistic culture. This idea that there is more to Carnegie Mellon than robots and bagpipes has been noticeable on campus this past year, especially when talking about the musical talents that have been performing on campus.

In addition to the numerous coffeehouses, musicals, orchestral performances, and singer-songwriter performances, Guster and Tokyo Police Club — both bands that have unique fan bases not dissimilar from the distinctive amalgam of Carnegie Mellon’s community — gave energetic and engaging performances this past fall.

This growing artistic culture on campus is perhaps one of the reasons that collegemagazine.com listed Carnegie Mellon as the ninth most hipster campus in the United States last December. After years of being written off as a geek school, the abundance of unique culture that exists at Carnegie Mellon and in the Pittsburgh area is finally being noticed by outsiders.

Our community is driven by passion. Similar to Passion Pit, Carnegie Mellon students largely ignore what is trendy or hip in favor of pursuing their own ideas of self-fulfillment and enjoyment. Saturday will mark the intersection of two sides of the same coin: a beloved indie band and a prominent technical college. And it’s sure to be a concert to remember.