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Concert Review: Fitz and the Tantrums

Living in the East Bay, you might find it hard to believe, but I’ve never had to visit Oakland except when I have had to fly out of the airport. I’ve worked in San Francisco and have taken the BART through Oakland daily, but I’ve never stepped out into Oakland proper until last week when I finally found a reason to visit: to see Fitz and the Tantrums live for the first time. I first heard of the band last summer and have since been determined to see them live. While awaiting their announcement of their next NorCal concert date, I followed their TV appearances and their commerical plugs over the last year. So even before stepping into the venue, I knew I was in for a fun night and they did not disappoint.

I attended the show at the Fox Theatre in Oakland on April 3rd. While the majority of downtown is nothing memorable, the Fox Theatre is definitely a fun venue with great acoustics and holds a nice-sized crowd. Because Fitz and the Tantrums’ music is a fusion of 60s Motown and today’s indie soul, they attract a mixed crowd: an older crowd who are reminiscing of their childhood through their music and hipsters who are trying so hard not to follow mainstream music but still gravitate to their pop melodies as they are featured in everything from TV sitcoms to T-Mobile commericals. That evening, the crowd consisted of Berkeley students, whom you can always identify as they never leave campus without something blue and gold, and the older well-educated music scene of San Francisco and Oakland, who got the most excited and danced on their VIP seats after a few cocktails. I love that crowd.

The openings acts, the Pet Shop Boys and the Bad Suns were adequate. The Bad Suns premiered a new song, “Dancing on Quicksand”, that evening, but they never really captivated the audience.
So for now, their name is relatively appropriate.

As soon as Fitz and the Tantrums hit the stage, a lightshow commenced. Unfortunately some of the lights were directed at the audience. While we appreciated the attention, we’re not on stage with them, so we didn’t need our own spotlight. We came there to watch the show, not be blinded by it.

In three short words: I love Noelle [Scaggs]. She never stopped dancing and was genuinely captivated by every beat of every song. Watching Noel and Michael [Fitzpatrick] sing in harmony all night was like watching nightingales trying to attract a mate. They have so much chemistry and so much magnetism that the entire audience was drawn in every time they took one more step closer to each other.

Throughout the night, they played the majority of their album, More than Just a Dream, and each song was so incredibly fun to watch. I just wish that the opening bands were just as fun so we weren’t just standing there for two hours waiting for someone good to perform. I guess that’s why Fitz and the Tantrums is a headliner and the others are not. Fitz and the Tantrums are so fun and youthful as their sound is the best of the 60s and the best of the 2010s at once. Mixing Motown, the height of rock and roll, and today’s quality production? Sounds great doesn’t it?

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