Words by Alexandra Johnson | Photos by Rod Snyder
New York City — Manhattan’s downtown has spent years perfecting the craft of making every night feel like a Saturday. On this particular peak in the work week, Delancey Street showed no signs of Wednesday as Fitz and the Tantrums’ loyal listeners bum rushed the Bowery Ballroom like it was their job. After a few small steps on New York City’s asphalt soil, Silver Lake, CA natives, Fitz and the Tantrums, stuck their flag into a corner of the city and made themselves right at home.
At 10:15, Matt Pinfield centered himself on the Bowery stage and welcomed the band who he knew was worthy of the packed house. Fitz and the Tantrums were greeted by a crowd that was seemingly already aware of the talent that Pinfield was so sure of. Decked out in crisp, black streamlined suits, the men took to the stage alongside a radiant Noelle Scaggs, in a glittered gold dress that gave the disco ball overhead a run for its money.
The night kicked off with “Don’t Gotta Work It Out”. It took all of about three seconds to realize that nobody was going to be keeping still through the infectious soul- funked set. As they moved into “Breakin’ The Chains of Love”, there was no question that this six-piece band was made to be on a live stage. Sure, listening to Pickin’ Up The Pieces on vinyl will get the job done, but the live presence of their sound is more powerful and more bold than could ever come through on recording. The saxophone breakdown in “Rich Girls” was wild and proved that James King had enough wind in him to blow the roof off the place.
The on-stage dance off that erupted between Scaggs and Michael Fitzpatrick lasted as long as the music did. Despite how much sweat dripped off their face or how much song was left to sing, their was hardly a moment of rest between the two. Their presence was explosive and none of their demands for claps and stomps were taken lightly.
“Wake Up” and “6 AM” were the new tunes that rounded out the roster of tracks for the evening. Both songs, written just a couple of weeks prior, are constructed around just enough soulful kick to ensure that there is no such thing as a ‘sophomore slump’ on the Tantrums’ records. Noelle’s vocal solos in “6 AM” allowed her beautiful, natural talent to come through harmoniously, making her admittance to being so sick she could not talk for two days seem hard to believe. The smooth abilities of her voice had no trace of illness anywhere in the 15 strong set list. She even kicked off her heels mid-way through so she could boogie down even harder with Fitz and the crowd.
Before taking to the encore, Fitz and the Tantrums’ slammed some soul into an amazing rendition of Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”. Adding just enough funk to make it their own, they had the crowd moving and singing along with the ‘80s single they tail-spinned into a Motown-esque groove.
Closing out the show with their current radio hit, “MoneyGrabber”, Fitz and the Tantrums got vocal about finding out how low the crowd could go. Fitz made it known that no one was going anywhere until everyone was on the ground, even calling out the reluctant ones until everyone in the room could clear a limbo stick. The Tantrums brought the fans back up on their feet, jumping high and dancing through the final notes of the track.
Fitz and the Tantrums colored the Bowery with a vivid retro sound for a crowd that could never fit neatly into even the broadest category. Fans conceived in just about every one of the past eight centuries sang along to the tunes that would take a long time to knock out of their head the next day. The only thing that these people all had in common was that they certainly knew how to get down. There was not one person in sight that cared how much space they had around them, how cold it was outside or how hot it was getting to be as the entirety of the venue morphed into a dance floor. The truth was, they came to feel some great live music, and they could have left two songs in and felt they got more than they paid for.
TheWaster.com | Delancey St.