JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

July 12, 2013
House of Blues - Dallas
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Roy Turner
Photos by Roy Turner

Fitz and the Tantrums

L.A. NEO Soul Pops High Energy At The Dallas HOB

Neo Soul Pop band, Fitz and The Tantrums made a hard stop at the Dallas, Texas House of Blues on July 12 for an explosive performance of new material and a mix of throw-back old numbers. Opening with Spark, the band encouraging the audience to clap and sing-along as the L.A. six-piece maintained an impressive energy level through the entire almost two hour set.

The set consisted mostly of the rock-edged, neo- soul featured on their 2010 debut Pickin' Up the Pieces, that included Don't Gotta Work It Out and Dear Mr. President. Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs, kept to their sides of the stage, but occasionally harmonized face-to-face.

While the Raconteurs cover Steady, As She Goes and Out of My League, the lead single off the new LP More Than Just a Dream, fared well with the audience, when Fitz launched into the house-burning Money Grabber, the audience got what it came for and the place went nuts.

This trade off in music styles makes for quite the energetic live show. Even with this juxtaposition of form, the band is progressive and obviously not wanting to be type casted as soul singers. This personality change was especially obvious when the band covered the Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams.

Noelle, swinging hips which coupled with the soulfulness of her electrifying voice, somehow took me back to an era well before my time. I could only think that she time traveled from the 50s to perform that evening. She continuously and successfully pumped up the crowd with each song, all while remaining sexy and increasing my jealousy. I wish I could say the same for Fitz. His energy level didn't come close to that of his band-mate, Noelle, and sometimes seemed a little forced.

While there's no doubt this is Fitzpatrick's band, some of the best moments came out when Scaggs was front and center. Her energy is contagious, especially when she breaks out of the choreographed crowd calls and dance routines with Fitz and just focuses on being her funky self. She takes the pressure off Fitz to be a true lead man while bringing out the best in a backing band that's content to avoid the limelight.

Do-it-all saxophonist James King squawked through a rough solo then made up for it by moving to keyboards on Break the Walls and followed that up with a turn on lead guitar.

They blew through a perfectly orchestrated set of new and old material, and despite a bit of apprehension surrounding how they would mix their new, post-throwback sound with those classic jams found on their debut album, I was shocked at how well the new tracks mixed so well with the old.