Published: Saturday, December 1, 2012
Updated: Sunday, December 2, 2012 23:12
Thomas McCaul | The Seahawk
Michael Angelakos, lead singer of Passion Pit performs Friday night at U.S.S. North Carolina Battleship Memorial. I Was Totally Destroying It and Matrimony also performed at the 2012 Modern Rockfest.
Swirling lights, swirling microphones and swirling fans—the two-time sold out music festival finally gave the Port City the show its been waiting for.
On Nov. 30, local radio station Modern Rock 98.7 brought band Passion Pit to their 2012 Modern Rock Festival at the USS North Carolina Battleship Park. Tickets went on sale in early September but quickly sold out. The station gave everyone a second chance, and sure enough, it sold out again. From the front of the stage, the crowd seemed endless, housing nearly 3,500 Wilmington fans, the largest concert ever at Battleship Park.
The electropop band opened with their newest single, “Take a Walk,” recently featured on Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos commercial. The single is part of their hyped and much-loved album “Gossamer,” released in July 2012.
Wilmington fans were also treated to several tunes off their early 2009 debut album “Manners,” which placed them on the music must-know list. Following their opening song, Passion Pit played the crowd-engaging “The Reeling,” and ended with two popular songs, “Sleepyhead” and the electrifying “Little Secrets.”
“My favorite song they played was Sleepyhead,” said UNCW student Catherine Carter. “It was one of those songs that you had to be there to really appreciate. Once the music started playing and the confetti shot out from the stage, I was convinced that this was the most impressive show I have ever been to.”
Wilmington has brought other big bands to Battleship Park, like Third Eye Blind back in 2009. But this year’s concert was held under a huge circus-style tent. The tent made Passion Pit’s light show especially striking, characterized by bright colors and cool circular designs.
“The atmosphere of the venue was incredible, I was very impressed with the huge tent and the light effects,” Carter said. “I have been to a lot of concerts and I would absolutely have to say this was one of my favorite experiences. I could not stop dancing!”
In addition to their live show talent, Passion Pit has established a strong presence on the national music scene. They gained the media's attention Oct. 13 when they appeared as musical guests on Saturday Night Live. And everyone knows––once you’ve been on SNL, you’ve got serious mainstream credibility.
“This is a huge accomplishment for the station,” said Vaughn, radio host at Modern Rock 98.7. “We’ve done listener appreciation shows, but never at this scale before.”
Vaughn hosted a live Ustream show and commentary with the two openers—Matrimony and I Was Totally Destroying It—before the concert.
I Was Totally Destroying It played an acoustic rendition of “The Prisoner” from their freshly released album “Vexations” at the station.
The five-piece power pop group has opened for other big bands like Joan Jet and Motion City Soundtrack, but were looking forward to playing with Passion Pit. Lead vocalist and co-songwriter Rachel Hirsch said Passion Pit was the “current quintessential band to dance to.”
Vaughn actually reached out to I Was Totally Destroying It via their Facebook, directly asking them to open for Passion Pit.
“We were in San Diego, on tour, having a barbeque with friends when we found out,” said John Booker, another vocalist and co-songwriter. “It was a good cap to our day.”
For Matrimony, this is the first time they’ve opened for a hot and famous music group. They’ve been busy recording their debut album with Columbia Records. The album will be released in March or April of next year.
“It felt like it’s always supposed to be, you know when something just feels right and it was meant to be like that,” said vocalist and lead guitarist Jimmy Brown in regards to the new album.
Most of all, Matrimony was eager to play by the water of the Cape Fear River at Battleship Park, Wilmington’s electrifying yet romantic concert venue.
Both openers dream of opening for bands like U2 or Paramore one day, but definitely agree that supporting Passion Pit is both an honor and a great opportunity.
Passion Pit, who arrived to Wilmington straight from Europe, continues on the last leg of their “Gossamer” tour.