Before the show started, the crowd in front of the bandshell sat and chatted leisurely to pass time, but when they saw Suckers walk on stage, they immediately jumped to their feet, cheering. In their cool shades and neon-colored clothing, Suckers had definitely embraced the outdoor park setting. "We're from Brooklyn. Celebrate!" shouted Suckers singer Quinn Walker early in the show. Drummer Brian Aiken thrashed around with such intensity that before long, his face was nearly the color of his fuchsia shirt. They only played seven songs, but the group harmonies, well-placed trumpet cameos, and over-the-top facial expressions from the drummer made for a pretty entertaining show, and the Brooklyn band's music proved to be a good introduction to the evening. Many of their songs had slower starts, but they definitely filled out by the time the choruses hit.
Tokyo Police Club's music was more immediate. Instead of building up their sound gradually, they seemed to put it out there up front, and their sound was a bit more raucous overall. Like Suckers, Tokyo Police Club really seemed to be enjoying the picturesque setting. It had been another hot day in Brooklyn, but it cooled off just enough to be pleasant for the show. "I hope you enjoyed the beautiful day in the park," said singer Dave Monks. "You guys should really check out these trees when you get a chance. The trees are killing it." And he was right. The trees lining the back side of the bandshell were waving gently in the wind as if swaying to the music.
Tokyo Police Club showcased a number of songs from their recent album, Champ. After their set had ended, the eager crowd tried a few different methods to get Passion Pit out on stage, but neither the chanting nor the slow clap did the trick. Shortly after 9:00, the tech guy gave a signal with his flashlight and yellow lights started flickering madly on stage as the band walked out. The production value definitely went up with each band's performance. For Passion Pit, each song seemed to have its own color scheme for lights: reds, oranges, purples, blues, and greens all made an appearance as the evening progressed. By the third song, a colorful banner (resembling the cover art of the Manners re-issue) fell against the backdrop to the delight of the audience.
For the most part, the sound throughout the evening was pretty good for an outdoor show. But the vocals did seem to be a little low in the mix - especially for Passion Pit. I'm not sure if it was just where I was standing or if there was a technical oversight, but there were times when I'd see Passion Pit singer Michael Angelakos open his mouth as if to sing but no sound came out. Of course, it didn't help that he had a tendency of holding the mic a bit too far away. (Were the officials trying to thwart the non-paying park goers from hearing the show outside of the official venue space?)
Regardless of the levels, the crowd seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. Throughout the show, they sang along, clapped to the beat, jumped up and down, and danced. There was also more than one attempt at crowd surfing as the evening progressed and the excitement mounted. The band was clearly thrilled to be performing in front of such a large, enthusiastic audience. Angelakos paced and danced around the stage with glee and kept effusively thanking everyone in between songs, eventually saying, "People make fun of me for always thanking everybody, but we're just in awe of everything that's just happened in the past year. This show sold out in like ten minutes. We're from Boston, but this city made us. Thank you so much! This is the biggest show we've ever played."
For their encore, Passion Pit played a delightful cover of the hit 1994 song "Dreams" by The Cranberries before closing with their own hit - "Sleepyhead." Though the crowd left behind a wasteland of bottles and cups, the tinkling of the aluminum Bud cans as they rolled over the cement surface made for an oddly melodic exit.
They do it again, at an even bigger venue with the same lineup (and the addition of We Were Promised Jetpacks) tonight (6/30) at Colonel's Row on Governors Island. More pictures from last night, some videos and Passion Pit's setlist, below...
Tokyo Police Club
Passion Pit - The Reeling (Prospect Park)
Passion Pit - Dreams (The Cranberries) (Prospect Park) (clip)
Sleepyhead - Passion Pit @ Prospect Park - Celebrate Brooklyn - 6/29/10
Passion Pit set list
I've Got Your Number
Swimming in the Flood
To Kingdom Come
Let Your Love Grow Tall
Live to Tell the Tale
Folds in Your Hands
Smile Upon Me
Eyes as Candles
Dreams (The Cranberries cover)