Fitz and the Tantrums creep closer to headline status at Fox

Fitz-and-the-Tantrums_postPhotos by Steve Roby // Written by Mark E. Ortega //

Fitz And The Tantrums with Bad Suns, Nightmare and the Cat //
Fox Theater Oakland — Oakland CA
Thursday April 3rd, 2014 //

Los Angeles-band Fitz & The Tantrums proved Thursday night at the Fox Theater that they’ve moved into headliner territory — and probably for good. The venue was packed a full hour before they’d go on stage, and their charisma and energy left a major impression on all who attended.

The band played most of their 2013 album More Than Just a Dream while also reaching back for the choice nugs from their 2010 debut Pickin’ Up the Pieces. What made Fitz stand out initially was their original sound, as their debut album featured not a single song with guitar. Their recent release featured guitar, so the concern heading into the show was that their sound wouldn’t be as unique as it sounded when I first heard them at Outside Lands in 2012. Thankfully, the set applied guitar to just one or two tracks and relied on the vocals of Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs, as well as the unbelievable saxophone and flute work from James King and, as one fan yelled out, the “funky bass lines” of Joseph Karnes.

The chemistry between Fitzpatrick and Scaggs is part of what makes their show so enjoyable. They feed off each other and the crowd feeds off of them. During one of the ballads from the new album, the two share an “Endless Love” type moment as they serenaded each other to the crowd’s delight. The flute solo from King during “Tell Me What Ya Here For” had the crowd euphoric, as did “Moneygrabber” in the encore.

Bad Suns

Bad Suns

Bad Suns brought an 80s sound to modern rock, helping fire people up for the headliner with a solid set. Playing to “the biggest show on the biggest stage hands down” in their career according to singer Christo Bowman. Bowman has a memorable vocal style that compares well to early-U2 Bono. Bowman could probably do a killer cover of “New Years Day” if he wanted to. At times his vocals were hard to make out but their songs are catchy and had people moving. They’re definitely a band on the rise and a recommended show.

Nightmare and the Cat (also of Los Angeles) opened things up and had a surprising number of followers out in support who were very up on their music. Singer Django Stewart displayed a memorable stage presence, as he seemed to be a graduate of the George Michael school of hip gyration, which meshed perfectly with their sound, which felt like if INXS had been brought into the 21st century with Michael Hutchence still at the forefront. “Blackbird Smile” was the high point, showcasing how well Django and brother/guitarist Samuel Stewart are at writing hooks. Interestingly, Django’s British accent is only apparent when he talks between songs and not very much so when he sings. For a band that’s been together just four years, they have things well together in a live setting, a promising sign.

Nightmare and the Cat

Nightmare and the Cat

The only downside of the evening was some of the crowd themselves. One guy was severely intoxicated at the outset of the first opener and had to be that guy who seeks attention by yelling at the most inopportune times. Then there was the older couple that shot scowls to everyone in their vicinity, with the man putting his hands on a nearby lady for dancing too close to him and his wife. This was in the early part of Fitz’s set but luckily the wife decided to say it was time to leave, to the high-fives of everyone around who had suffered their intolerable behavior.

The Fox Theater is an excellent venue and served as a perfect stage for a fast-rising band in Fitz & The Tantrums, helping to announce the fact they can sell out well-sized venues away from their home base in SoCal.


  1. heyyouguys says:

    The concert was a blast! Seeing them is always a great time. They are completely worth every penny.

  2. I love Fitz And The Tantrums! Their music is so much fun. Watching Fitz and Noelle’s chemistry on stage does draw you in.

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