A Quick Ride to the Top

November 11th, 2011

Fitz and the Tantrums – Terminal 5 – November 10, 2011

Terminal 5 was once again the place to be last night, as a sold-out crowd grooved to a taut, tireless set from soul-rockers Fitz and the Tantrums. From the moment the group shimmied onstage to “Don’t Gotta Work It Out,” everyone in attendance went wild, dancing during each song and crazily cheering at the end. The band’s anachronistic style was a big part of its charm as the six members two-stepped their way through song after song without totally immersing themselves in the act like some artists (Raphael Saadiq, for example) would.

This let lead singer Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick and crew stay loose—and kept the show from feeling like schtick. While the crowd grew loud after each song, it was probably at its noisiest when Fitz and singer-tambourine guru Noelle Scaggs played off each other’s energy, leaning in close while harmonizing. The rest of the band was equally impressive, featuring some lively organ and keys from Jeremy Ruzumna and stellar saxophone work from James King (who likely received the loudest applause for a flute solo Terminal 5 has ever seen).

The set got even better as it lengthened, as both Fitz and Scaggs kept dialing up the energy and making sure the fans were doing the same (not that this particular crowd needed coaxing). But Fitz took a minute late in the set to pause and turn the attention on those in attendance, thanking them for their long-time support, saying, “You touched my heart.” But there was more: “Last year,” he added, “we were at Mercury Lounge and look where we are tonight!” So far, it may have been a fast ride to the top for this band, but if last night was any indication, it’s been a well-deserved trip. —Sean O’Kane