First: I refuse to call Disco Rodeo “the Ritz”, even if they have big stupid red letters on their building calling it that. Disco Rodeo is a big old cave of a venue in an old storage building in an office park, and it is not the Ritz. Jesus Christ.
Second: I have spent seven years in the Triangle studiously avoiding Disco Rodeo. I missed Modest Mouse there. I missed the Black Keys. I missed the fucking Pixies, you guys, because I refused to go to Disco Rodeo. I finally went last night, for the Passion Pit show, and I don’t really think I was missing anything. Expensive beer, overwhelmingly hot for such a big space, super grosstastic bathrooms, and no re-entry. Blech. BUT the sound was amazing, and the upstairs sightlines were amazing. If it wasn’t all locked-down gotta-have-a-photo-pass, it would be a great place to shoot. But it is. So double blech. I’m spoilt by the Cradle and the 506 like whoa. I own this. I am an entitled brat, and that is why I stay in Chapel Hill and don’t move to a “big city” to further my career, because I like already knowing everyone here.
Third: Youngblood Hawke, who my buddy Spencer hooked me up with, were fantastic — danceable, joyful garage pop, all synthed out and compelling. (Youngblood Hawke is also apparently a Herman Wouk novel about a fictionalized Thomas Wolfe; the things you learn Googling bands!) Frontman Sam Martin was wearing one of the ugliest shirts in the history of the world, and he was one of the best lead singers I’ve watched all year. His band is tight as hell, the songs will lodge in your head, and the crowd ate them up. I am thrilled they’re getting the break to tour in front of these enthusiastic, engaged Passion Pit crowds, because everyone in Disco Rodeo was thrilled by everything on Thursday, and that twice over included Youngblood Hawke’s set. It takes a strong opener to engage a crowd, so pumped for the headliner, that well, and they kicked ass and took names. I can’t wait to see them again.
Fourth: I didn’t have a pass to shoot Passion Pit, because I neglected to double confirm my credentials (whoops! I am awful and lazy, etc), but despite that, holy Mary Mother of God, they were great. I was fascinated and charmed by Michael Angelakos and his interview and his music on Sound Opinions this week, and I really liked Gossamer a lot, but seeing them live was just flat-out captivating. The resonance of Angelakos’ songwriting, the energy of the crowd, the glorious tour rig lights: it was all amazing. I loved it.
Fifth: But what I loved most about the night was how much Clea loved it, and how much the dancing bro in front of us loved it. I love watching people I love, and also strangers, love things. It was really fantastic. Full set is here.