by Casey Schwochow
It was bitter cold night in Detroit, but that didn’t stop the masses from coming to The Fillmore. The sold out crowd was made up of all ages; with the youngest I saw being less than a year old. It wasn’t surprising, since Fitz and The Tantrums have mastered the art of creating radio hits with catchy choruses that fans of any age can’t resist shouting along with.
I last saw Fitz and The Tantrums at a festival this past summer, which happened to be the day after their self-titled third album was released. That show was my first Fitz And The Tantrums live experience and was blown away by their set. Since then, my love for them has grown. When I saw they were returning to the area, I wasn’t going to miss it.
The set kicked off with “Get Right Back” from their latest album. Right out the gate, vocalists Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs displayed their high energy by moving from one end of the stage to the next with lighting speed. Eyes were surely getting some exercise this evening if you were trying to keep them in your sight.
The stage was made up of a stellar light show. Rectangular light boxes hung from the back of the stage were full of color that moved with the harmonies of the songs. It was quite a stunning display.
James King may play guitar and keyboard in the band, but my favorite instrument of his is the saxophone. He actually has two of them on stage. The smaller one is used when he breaks free from his keyboard and struts all around the stage. His larger one is utilized when he’s firmly established in his usual spot. His Saxophone solos were a real treat to watch.
Noelle sported a bedazzeled mic and it fits her stage presence perfectly. During the song “Complicated,” Noelle bent down on the end of the stage and wrapped one of her arms around a security guard. She was having fun on stage and at one point jokingly referred to herself as the “Boss lady of the band”. Fitz and Noelle kept up their energetic dancing and even dancing in tandem on occasion.
Fitz told the crowd that the band “does not accept standing around like a wallflower” during their show. He urged to crowd to stop texting on their phones and stand up if they were seated. These songs were created to dance and sing along to, and most of the crowd did just that. From the floor to balcony the crowd danced, clapped, and sang along throughout the evening.
The band’s rhythm section made up of John Wicks on drums, Jeremy Ruzumna on keyboards, and Joseph Karnes on bassstayed on their respective podiums all night. They concentrated on filling the room with music and let the other half of the group do all the stage movement. The band can easily fit in numerous genres including pop, soul, dance, funk, and alternative rock. You can shake and stir it all you want and it will come out nicely mixed and easy to consume.
Fitz proclaimed his love for the city of Detroit, and stated that the band has played “in the D” so many times that he can’t keep count. He mentioned their first show in the area being at the Magic Bag, back in 2008 or 2009. (Editors Note: The band’s first ever live show was in December of 2008 in Los Angeles so the Magic Bag show most likely took place in 2009.)
As the band’s set winded down Fitz told us, “More now than ever, there is a need to send the message of love.” He continued to say he doesn’t care who the crowd voted for, and everyone should come together as one. And on this night it sure felt like everyone was.
Noelle took to the mic to dedicate the band’s last song “The Walker,” to singer Sharon Jones, who passed away the day before from cancer. As the band played the hit, a shower of confetti was shot out from the front of the stage and covered the audience. It was a fitting explosion of color from an explosive colorful band.
Don’t Gotta Work It Out
Out of My League
Break the Walls
Breakin’ the Chains of Love
Do What You Want
Burn It Down