With relentless energy and an eclectic edge, Fitz and the Tantrums brought a touch of soul pop to 9:30 Club on Nov. 8. The sold-out venue was packed with a immensely diverse crowd ranging from college students to entire families anticipating the group’s performance.
Contemporary electro-pop group Big Data warmed up the crowd as they opened the show. Led by Brooklyn native Alan Wilkis, the group’s hit single “Dangerous” played vibrantly before Fitz and the Tantrums took stage.
With the use of new synthetic instrumentals alongside soft vocals, the group highlights the concept of the voyeurism on the internet and being “watched.” With computerized Siri-like song transitions and fan shoutouts, the group had the crowd jamming while waving cutouts of Wilkis’ face, signature to each of their shows. The group did a tremendous job of hyping the crowd, putting them in the perfect mood for a dance and vigor filled set by Fitz and the Tantrums.
Most recognized for its hits “Out Of My League” and “The Walker,” the band was founded in 2008 by songwriter Michael Fitzpatrick, who later recruited Noelle Scaggs (co-lead vocals) and four band members. After an inspiring electronic organ purchase, Michael Fitzpatrick founded the band in Los Angeles in 2008. After playing at the March 2010 SXSW festival, the band released its first-full length album “Pickin’ Up the Pieces” in August.
After opening for Maroon 5, the group is now on its own new tour. The band returned to D.C. for a third time and Fitzpatrick called the 9:30 Club as a home away from home during the show.
The group has grown extraordinarily in its past six years and developed a unique retro-soul pop sound attracting crowds of all ages. It began the night with “Break the Walls,” a song with the perfect balance of lyrical sweetness and instrumental depth. The crowd was instantly in the mood for a night of rhythmic dancing and head bopping.
Despite feeling under the weather, Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs held an immeasurable energy onstage, constantly moving from one end of the stage to the other while performing.
Accompanied by quick transitions, the group moved onto “Spark,” asking everyone to use special motion-detected glow bracelets given to each concert-goer at the door. Met by an overwhelming applause, the crowd broke into a synchronized light show clapping along to the lyrics,“Don’t they know / the speaker is about to explode? Don’t they know / this building is about to blow?”
Songs like “Out of my League” and “Fools Gold” carried an entirely different ambiance when performed live and were welcomed by tremendous excitement and cheering by the audience. Alongside its fantastic group dynamic and energy, Fitz and the Tantrums delivered beyond the ordinary concert experience. The band asked the audience to take out their cell phone flashlights to slow down the night with a rendition of Scaggs’ favorite song “The Last Raindrop”.
After closing the main set with “Money Grabber,” the crowd itched for one more song. Emerging back onto the stage, Fitzpatrick began the encore with a heartfelt thank you to all the fans for “spreading the love” before requesting that everyone in the crowd “get low” for the final song.
“The Walker” was quickly met with cheers and jumping as the band performed its most well-known hit.
Ending with a confetti filled explosion, Fitz and the Tantrums is one of those bands who must be seen live. After hours of dancing to saxophone infused neo-soul pop, audience left elated as they exited the club to a chilly U Street Saturday night.