In what just might have been the surprise musical slaughter of the season, L.A.’s Fitz & the Tantrums came, saw, and conquered SOhO last Thursday night. The show (almost-ironically put on by Santa Barbara’s New Noise) was chock full of old school blues, funk, and Motown-inspired harmonies, and brought with it a dance party that quite literally spanned the age gamut.
Starting things off right, local boys Howlin’ Woods and Wetlands brought the party, with two sets that culminated in a funk-filled, Wetlands-led onstage dance party of impressive proportions. In fact, these Afrobeat-loving boys did one of the finer hype man jobs I’ve seen in months, busting out groovy jam after groovy jam to an increasingly packed dance floor.
Not long after, Fitz & Co. took to the stage and truly brought their recorded tunes to life. Lead singer Michael Fitzpatrick acted as the evening’s master of ceremonies, looming over the audience with the sweat and swagger of a true showman. And frontwoman Noelle Scaggs? She spent the majority of her time onstage endearing herself to pretty much everyone in the room, shimmying, shaking, and belting her parts like a pint-sized Aretha Franklin.
Amongst the evening’s highlights was a movingly soulful cover of the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” and a “Shout”-style slow down to the set-ending “MoneyGrabber,” which found Fitzpatrick and his fans taking a knee before the song’s explosive final chorus. All in all, it was a night for the books and, if rumors prove true, just the first of many S.B. dates for these still-burgeoning music makers.