What: Passion Pit
When: 8 p.m. March 1
Where: 1stBank Center, 11450 Broomfield Ln., Broomfield, 303-410-0700
More info: 1stbankcenter.com
P assion Pit is a lot of things -- a model of indie success, for one -- but the band is nothing if not sincere.
A lot has happened for Passion Pit in five years. What started as Michael Angelakos' Valentine's Day gift to his girlfriend quickly became the Chunk of Change EP in 2008. The band came together to release the six-track debut that included the breakout hit "Sleepyhead." Less than a year passed before the band dropped its first full-length, Manners.
Last summer, Passion Pit released Gossamer. The years between the two highly praised LPs were filled with tours that hit the world's biggest cities, stages and festivals. In that time, drummer Nate Donmoyer said, being part of Passion Pit became more than a fun gig.
"Not that we didn't take it seriously before, but I think it's become obvious that this has become bigger and it's become more important to our livelihood," he said. "I don't just mean making money, I mean to our career and what we leave behind when we're dead and gone."
Passion Pit's music, underneath the bright choruses and glossy production, is marked with emotional honesty. Listen closely to Gossamer and you'll catch themes of suicide, alcoholism and, among many other troubles, mental illness. It's notable because it's real. Angelakos has spoken publicly and at length about his struggle with bipolar disorder. Pile on the stresses of touring, and it's impressive that the band seems doubly dedicated.
"We know what we want to do and, like I was saying earlier, we know how far we want to go, and that's really as far as we can," Donmoyer said. "Before, it might have been just, 'Oh, shit, we can play shows all over, this is so cool. Let's party and kind of live in the moment and not worry about the future or playing the best show possible.' Now it's not, 'Oh, my god, we're in London, let's go crazy.' Now we're in London playing for people that we really want to impress, first of all, and really leave them with potential for what we can become, so we can come back and keep coming back."
When Passion Pit can't be in London, or any other city, the band is trying to connect with fans in other ways. There's the Gossamer app that offers interactive graphics and remix capabilities for "Take A Walk" and "Carried Away." There was also a remix contest for "Carried Away," in which the winner received $1,000 and had his remix released as a free download.
"It's not just a recording on a tape anymore. It's something where we can share stems with people and they can remix, and they don't have to have access to a label to give a hard drive to them. You can manipulate in real time and everyone maybe feels more a part of what we're doing," Donmoyer said. "And that's the whole goal of a concert, is to share the experience of making music, and if we can expand beyond just standing in a room with us and put on a show that incorporates people singing along and dancing with us, hopefully when we're having a good time, it's contagious. If we can do that outside a concert venue, that's a gift. Not from us. To us."
A string of canceled shows aside (after Angelakos was hospitalized), Passion Pit is about six months into a lengthy world tour. Donmoyer said it's no exaggeration that they've played the songs thousands of times -- enough that performances can run on muscle memory. Yet the band still seems enthusiastic, feeding off the energy of fans.
At a sold-out Madison Square Garden show in early February -- one that could not be stopped by a blizzard -- Angelakos addressed the crowd:
"Seven months ago they told me I could never tour again. And now we're here on stage at Madison Square Garden ... And I'm going to keep doing it. I don't know what to say. You think these things over, about what to say, and when you're in this position there's nothing to say. So, thank you. We'll keep doing this as long as you keep coming."
And so Passion Pit keeps on going. The band will be at Broomfield's 1stBank Center on March 1, and at the Larimer Lounge in Denver later that night for an afterparty DJ set. Before they get here, Donmoyer wants to deliver a message:
"I want to say congratulations to all the green community in Colorado and the eventual end of prohibition. Good luck with that, and I hope it makes you enjoy our music more. We can't wait to come and enjoy it with you guys. We all are huge fans of Colorado ... I'm not just saying that."
You kind of have to believe him.