First off, I am a huge Passion Pit fan.
I still remember when "Sleepy Head," Passion Pit's first single, was reblogged over and over on my Tumblr dashboard, before the band was signed onto Frenchkiss records, then Columbia records, respectively.
When I first saw them on Music Farm's lineup (back in August) for a show in October, I of course got my ticket and started making phone calls about the band.
I was connected to Passion Pit's PR rep over at Sony Music and got confirmed three months in advance for an interview.
I was already worried though that this show might get cancelled after reading Larry Fitzmaurice's Pitchfork piece on Michael Angelakos'—frontman for the band—mental health, just days before the release of Gossamer, his sophomore album (July 24th).
Click to Read: Pitchfork's Cover Story - Passion Pit | Rite of Passion
If you haven't read Pitchfork's cover story on Michael Angelakos yet, it delves into the 25-year-old Angelakos' social insecurities and the public learning of his bipolar nature.
I always liked the band but after reading this partiuclar article, I kinda fell in love. Michael was a 22-year-old college dropout, took a risk on his Myspace-to-label "Chunk of Change" EP, and at the end of the day, he just didn't want his bipolar disorder to define him.
I was diagnosed with ADHD and bipolar disorder in my late teens, dropped out of film school during college, and have dealt with my own manic episodes pertaining to my ill-focus on my academics or what-have-you.
Because Michael was being so open about his mental-disorder, I now had a sliver of relation to Angelako's everyday process. If you listen to any of his songs, it's all manic-infused melodies with lyrics and I get it.
Passion Pit is now music's bipolar poster-child, despite Michael trying to characterize himself differently, which by no means is a bad thing. It's an extraordinarily common disease and society automatically gives bipolarism a negative stigma whenever it's brought up. Being under the limelight and being able to be so open about a mental disorder like this deserves applause. It's such an inspiration when someone like Michael Angelakos can be so uninhibited talking about it.
The Saturday following Passion Pit's show at the Music Farm, the band headlined Saturday Night Live (video below).
October 19th finally rolled around, the night of Passion Pit at the Music Farm, and my good friend, Nicholas Bongalis, arrived with me at the show. We got our photo passes from the label and walked straight upstairs to the green room.
Both openers were already playing so it was pretty empty backstage. We walked outside behind the building and saw the typical rush of College of Charleston girls wearing their best from Urban Outfitters, and were trying to schmooze their way with anyone they thought were "with the band."
I had my shoulder-mounted Canon 7D with my mic ready for an interview and Nate Donmoyer, the drummer of Passion Pit, walked straight up to me to ask about my set-up. I immediately knew who he was from their "Constant Conversation" music video. He's the guy hilariously petting a rabbit throughout as if he was Dr. Evil out of Austin Powers. Pretty awesome.
We ditched the CofC girls and went back inside after we nerded over my camera. He's apparently a camera nerd, too, and dabbled in photography. We compared prescription glasses over his Warby Parker frames to my Derek Cardigan's...pfft hipsters...
We also talked about the tour thus-far and what he did in Charleston that day before the show, all while Nate was getting changed, even down to his underwear...
Nate Donmoyer: The tour has been great with some up and downs, but it's been looking very bright. We're all getting closer as a band and just doing what we've always wanted to do, which is tour the world with a great album. We're hitting up Disney tomorrow which I am totally freaking out about. I don't care who you are, Disney World is and will always be the shit!
As for Charleston, I walked the whole Battery today and hit up this really cool coffee joint called Kudu. They know how to do it right.
I always wear the same shirt and same pants every show which is why I'm changing in front of you, haha, don't worry though, they are salty and dirty but I showered today.
After that, Nate had to go run onstage after the opener to get his monitor suited. Michael was taking a shower down the street from the Music Farm and was in the tour RV. He finally popped into the green room 10 minutes before they went on.
I introduced myself to Michael but we were too close to the show starting for an interview and he was helping his manager try to find a pair of headphones, Nate the drummer's monitor headphones. The manager instructed me to throw all of the couch cushions out in the hallway outside the green room to see if that would help. I opened the door and threw all the cushions out and everyone starts cheering on the bottom floor becuase they think the show is starting. I started to get really nervous and Michael kept on yelling, "We have to find these damn headphones!"
Nate ran back upstairs, freaking out because he can't find them onstage after we tore the Green Room up and down. My friend Nic calmy reached under the couch and mutters, "Uhhh...they were under the couch..."
A huge group-hug erupted between everyone in the room and everyone started creepily petting Nic's massive beard. It was amazing.
I got all of my camera gear ready for the show to start. I turned on my camera's light and the whole audience could see it through the Green Room window so they started waving and cheering. I even had some friends in the audience yell out, "Is that Hunter's camera?!" All I could feel was adrenaline.
The show started and the house went wild with Gossamer's first track "Take a Walk." I pushed myself through the crowd to get in front to take some shots. Michael told me right before the show to only stay during the first three songs then to head back to the Green Room. Once "It's Not My Fault, I'm Happy" kicked in, I rushed back upstairs.
I enjoyed the rest of the show from upstairs with the openers, Wild Belle and Youngblood Hawke, while pushing out the occasional person busting through the Green Room to rush the stage with a written "birthday shout-out" or asking if they could bring all of their friends in to meet the band after the show.
Then the final encore.
Overall, the night was amazing. I got to talk to a band I already enjoyed (and now love) and got to watch them play with the best seats in the house.
I was so happy that Michael Angelakos was able to get the help he needed and this show happened.
It's going to be hard to top the night that Passion Pit came to Charleston.