Manners Turns Ten

Photo Credit – Jean Claude Billmaier

Like most people, I remember my first time rather vividly. I was at a party, it was just after my birthday, and I’d been talking to this guy all night. Our musical interests were pretty different, but he was passionate about his favorites and I respected that. I was ready to leave and he told me he wanted me to hear one song before I took off. Music was still playing in the house, so we went out to my car.

He got in and we started talking about something else and twenty minutes went by. I looked at the clock and said I really needed to leave. He told me if I stayed I wouldn’t regret it. He reached into his pocket and pulled out an iPod, stealing the aux cord so smooth I barely noticed. Suddenly my mind was filled with the synthy explosion of notes that open “Make Light.” This was my introduction to Passion Pit and the album Manners.

The guy in the car was my friend Kevin, who prefers Chunk Of Change over Manners anyway, but I thank him for the intro. The album ended up meaning more to me than I could have expected that night. The songs stuck with me so much so that when we moved to Chicago and I started writing about music, Passion Pit’s show in DeKalb was the first huge concert I covered. I also saw them play at Lollapalooza shortly after the album came out. The crowd was huge for their 5pm set.

At the time I didn’t look into the story behind the album or much of Michael Angelakos’s interviews following the release. Most of that stuff didn’t find its way to me until Gossamer came out a couple years later. Listening back, you can feel the struggle in the music, his brain being pulled in different directions by a disease he didn’t fully understand.

It was this internal struggle, I’m sure, that allowed Angelakos to orchestrate such a magnificent album. It was unlike anything on the radio at the time. He was catapulted to the upper echelon of music celebrities, doing interviews with the biggest magazines. The songs were everywhere-you couldn’t turn on a tv or radio without hearing something by Passion Pit.

That kind of fame is tough (I think), so I’m not surprised that there was some resentment against Manners for creating this extra demon he had to fight. It’s good to know that, ten years later, he’s able to look back a bit more fondly. So much so that an anniversary tour is coming to celebrate the album.

The tour starts in Tempe, AZ on April 30th and ends May 25th in Washington, DC. The official tenth anniversary, also my birthday, May 15th just happens to be when they’re here in Chicago. Check out their site for a full list of dates.