The new album from Fitz and The Tantrums has been on regular rotation for me lately, but that is a band you MUST see live to fully appreciate. Last night, they treated a roomful of people to a full set of songs from their latest release “More Than Just a Dream”, including two they’ve never played live before. It was their first proper show in Los Angeles behind the new album and they proved why we should be very proud to call them our own!
Their chemistry is incredible – not just the vocal/physical tug of war between Michael Fitzpatrick (aka Fitz) and Noelle Scaggs, who play off each other in the most entertaining ways – but the entire band. (There was a funny moment when Noelle teased Fitz about sneaking a peek at a lyric sheet, but it’s clearly all in good fun) They love these songs and play them with every fiber of their being. Also, they don’t miss an opportunity to draw in the crowd, so there were lots of coordinated handclaps.
“6AM” is my clear favorite of the bunch, though “The Walker” is incredibly catchy, with it’s whistling hook. The audience seemed to get most exited about “Out of My League”, which we’ve been spinning quite a bit.
In fact, Fitz actually took a moment to talk about the band’s history with the station, crediting KCRW for launching the band. They played MBE in 2009, before their first full length came out, and he got choked up about how, after that radio debut, they returned to LA to play their first sold out show, with the crowd singing his songs back to him. He clearly got emotional and doesn’t take any of the band’s success for granted.
Fitz says they really wanted to take risks when they finally got back in to the studio after years of non-stop touring. There is a clear 80’s influence that is quite different from the retro soul of their debut, but retains their energy, enthusiasm and pure poppiness.
As Fitz said in an interview with host Anne Litt, he’s an “80’s baby”. He said it’s the soul-influenced British bands of the 80’s that have always been his inspiration (naming Kajagoogoo and Style Council, specifically).
Noelle added that after years of touring non stop, they’ve “grown together as a band” and they wanted that to shine through on the album. When they finally found the time to write new songs, it was an intense 5-6 week period during which they wrote about 40 new tracks. Producer Tony Hoffer helped them whittle it down to the best bunch and the results were released just this week.
They are, without a doubt, one of the best, live bands around. They give 110% at every show I’ve ever seen and they are all heart (and talent, of course).
Before the show, Fitz took a peek outside and, noticing the gorgeous sunset, gathered the whole band in the middle of the street for an impromptu photo shoot as their fans were lining up to go see them. Not your typical “rock star” stuff – more like a family portrait. It was a really sweet moment that somehow said everything.
The full session airs on Morning Becomes Eclectic on Tuesday, May 14.
Fitz and The Tantrums Live on KCRW – Set List
Keepin Our Eyes Out
Break The Walls
Merry Go Round
Out of My League
House of Fire