Live: Fitz and The Tantrums at Culture Room, November 1
Categories: Concert Review
|Photo by Adam E. Smith|
Culture Room, Fort LauderdaleTuesday, November 1, 2011
Better Than: Almost anything that calls itself "soul" these days.
Nearly 3,000 miles from their native city of Los Angeles, Fitz & the Tantrums made their Fort Lauderdale debut to a packed house at the Culture Room. Channeling the soulful funkability of Detroit's Motown swagger, front man Michael "Fitz" Fitzpatrick brought an undeniably pure vocal presentation, and all the right stage presence mojo to the live setting. He is but one part of the whole. Vocalist Noelle Scaggs and saxophonist James King were also instrumental in working the crowd and nailing track after track all night. They like to show off and that kind of behavior was encouraged.
The Tantrums' debut record Pickin' Up the Pieces is a series of single-worthy hits that stay in the same nu-soul vein, but also pump out original, highly contagious pop characteristics. The kind of tunes that get stuck in your head, but you don't seem to mind. Almost everyone knew the words to each song, and the fast paced set used the album in its entirety. Because of this the live show had virtually no down moments. Hell, there wasn't even time to breathe.
The real appeal for catching the sextet from California is the raw kinetic ardor that pours from the stage. Fitz and Noelle never stopped dancing and working the floor, and it compelled the crowd to periodically wave their hands, jump up and down and shake their asses -- sometimes all at once. These guys aren't a one trick pony limited to just the song structures. They proved this with countless groove breakdowns, a vocal duel layered over a flute solo during "Picking Up the Pieces," and a stunning saxophone solo in the middle of "L.O.V." that compelled Fitz to jump off the drum platform and land behind Jeremy Ruzumna"s keyboard. He proceeded to stay there and peak out the full band jam. The lost art of showmanship has returned with this crew and they have the choreography and musicality to back it up.
The new songs, "6 AM" and "Love Sick Man" showcased the creative direction the band is moving, while well executed covers of The Raconteurs' "Steady As She Goes" and Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams" demonstrate the band's diverse influences that mold their unique sound. Over 200 concerts this year alone has not slowed them down at all. Their intentions are pure, and you can tell as they put work into promoting the music they create. As the encore came, the Tantrums saved the best for last. Fitz directed the crowd to boogie down to the crouching position during the "Moneygrabber." When the chorus dropped back in the whole room exploded with wildly jumping fans. A perfect ending to one of the best inaugural performances South Florida has ever seen.
Random Detail: Fitz is the only white guy to make the "running man" dance move look good.
The Crowd: A lively mix with pockets of dance-inclined patrons that kept the vibe and the energy high. Fitz and Noelle vocalized being pleasantly surprised by the great turnout and positive response after each song.
Personal Bias: This was my second chance to see the band this year. I would have to say the hype is real and that this is one of the hottest shows of the year.
Don't Gotta Work It Out, Winds Of Change, Breakin' The Chains of Love, Wake Up, Pickin' Up The Pieces, Rich Girls, 6 AM, Tighter/We Don't Need..., Love Sick Man!, L.O.V., Steady As She Goes, Dear Mr. President, News 4 U