Fitz and the Tantrums ready to bring the dance to Aragon Ballroom
By Jeff Elbel For Sun-Times Media November 21, 2013 4:56PM
Fitz and the Tantrums
Fitz and the Tantrums, with Capital Cities and Beat Club, 7PM, Friday, November 22, Aragon Ballroom, 1106 W Lawrence Ave., $27.50+fees, all ages admitted, (773) 561-9500; aragon.com. SPOTIFY playlist: http://spoti.fi/17WaCHz
Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom hosts some of Chicago’s finest rock shows. When Fitz and the Tantrums come to town, the static reception typical of rock audiences will not be an option. The venerable Uptown hall will return to service as a dance hall.
The Los Angeles-based sextet led by Michael Fitzpatrick first gained broad attention with debut album “Pickin’ Up the Pieces” and the neo-soul groove of single “MoneyGrabber.” The song took the sound of modern soul revival acts like Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, fused it with the blue-eyed soul-pop of Hall & Oates and a tipped a hat to classic Motown rhythm and blues acts like the Temptations.
In May, the Tantrums released their sophomore album “More Than Just a Dream.” The band’s current sound retains affection for genre classics, but songs like “The Walker” incorporate an updated, club-friendly pulse. An infectious and undeniably body-moving energy takes hold during “Out of My League” as Fitzpatrick sings about leveling up with a romance well beyond his station. Noelle Scaggs provides cooing girl-group accompaniment ready-made for audience singalongs.
The band’s stylish and crafty sound is rooted in his Fitzpatrick’s experience as a recording engineer, but Fitz and the Tantrums built their reputation upon a relentless performance schedule with an explosive live act that once made sweat-soaked boxes of Metro and Schuba’s. The band’s daytime appearance at Lollapalooza 2011 provided one of the festival’s most buzzed-about performances that year, stealing thunder from headline acts with an explosive cover of Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams.”
The band clearly aims for the hips rather than the head, with lyrics that are designed to glide across infectious, sugar-rush melodies rather than speak complicated truths. Still, the group engages in everyday rallying cries like “Break the Walls,” with straightforward but noble sentiments. The slinky “Spark” gathers the combustive power of persistence and collective force in service of a common, positive goal.
Fitz and the Tantrums themselves are the message, crossing musical and racial barriers with an all-inclusive and simple joy. Everybody is welcome at the dance party.