Fitz And The Tantrums – 11/11/13 – Concert Review
Posted on November 16, 2013 | Leave a comment
Curtis M. Phillips Center – Gainesville, Florida

It’s not every day that you get the chance to see an indie/alternative show at a performing arts theater on a college campus, but this particular day, I got to and it was quite the experience. Usually the orchestral pit is an area for the fancy-schmansy arts types with their white full-length gloves and loads of expendable income, but for this show on the University of Florida campus, it was all students just looking to have a good time with a good soundtrack. And that’s just what they got.

First on the bill to warm up the crowd was Beat Club, a Los Angeles based group that classifies themselves as “Rock Dance Electronic World Punk Pop” on their Facebook page. With a lot of groove-based songs, these guys were a great start to the show. Keyboards, dueling guitars, a rocking drummer, and a smooth-grooving bass player rounded each other out and pulled together to bring down the house. Their energy onstage didn’t let up, and neither did the quality of their songs. When they were done with the set, the crowd wanted more, and frankly, so did I.

Capital Cities were next up. This group also hails from Los Angeles and is composed of co-frontmen Sebu Simonion and Ryan Merchant. The two met on Craigslist, started writing jingles, and never looked back. With the addition of a bassist, lead guitarist (Merchant also plays – Simonian is on keys), drummer, and trumpet/trombonist, Capital Cities was born. They are of course known for their break out single “Safe and Sound” and their unique sound. Spencer Ludwig on trumpet is an easy crowd favorite and singer Ryan Merchant looks like the typical LA guy that girls swoon over. Not only are they easy on the eyes, but these guys can run a crowd. Fans swarmed the rail between the pit and the seats for this set and wouldn’t let up. When it was time to play the much anticipated “Safe and Sound,” the boys came off stage and ran back and forth jumping up and down, swinging their “Capital Cities” jackets in the air and getting everybody pumped up for the electro dance remix equipped with dubstep and a lightshow. The Phillips Center was not only transformed for the concert, but it was changed into a dance club for this, their final song before leaving the stage.

It was now time for the headliner, Fitz And The Tantrums to take the head of the stage and close out the show. I’m not going to lie, going into this show, I wasn’t too excited for this band. A co-worker was really pumped after hearing they were the headliners and I just sort of shrugged, but I’m glad I got to see them. I was surprised to find out that I actually knew two of their songs, “Don’t Gotta Work It Out” and “Out of my League” and I enjoyed the dynamic between Fitz and Noelle Scaggs. This indie-pop sextet rounds out the trio of Los Angeles based bands on the bill and brought a whole new feel to the show. While similar in genre to the rest of the bands, Fitz And The Tantrums seemed to radiate their aura off the stage and through the entirety of the performing arts center.

It could have been the singularity of their performers – Scaggs with her tambourine and James King with a Baritone Saxophone and Flute), the onstage chemistry and harmonic coupling of Fitz and Scaggs, or the fact that the stage seemed so much larger when this group came on, or maybe it was all of these characteristics and then some, I can’t be sure. What I do know is this – there were no tantrums being thrown that night by any fans in the crowd, just fists in the air and cell phone lighters in the sky.