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The Bright Futures Tour with Fitz and the Tantrums & Capital Cities Review

The Bright Futures Tour with Fitz and the Tantrums & Capital Cities at Aragon Ballroom
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November 26, 2013

The Los Angeles-based modern rock outfit known as Capital Cities brought their “Bright Futures Tour” to North America to promote their new EP On A Tidal Wave of Mystery with Fitz and the Tantrums in Chicago at the Aragon Ballroom on Friday, November 22nd.

It was a night to remember as Capital Cities gave us a taste as to why they are one of the best live acts on the music scene today, regardless of genre. The groups, founded and fronted by Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian in 2010 are poised for a major breakthrough, not just in America, but around the world.

You may have seen Capital Cities’ ubiquitous video for their infectious hit “Safe and Sound”. Slammin’, calculated, and filled with catchy hooks, the video barely begins to do justice to what the Chicago audience was privileged to see and hear in a full live performance. Ryan and Sebu take on synths and vocals, and are supported, nay by a fine trumpet player, Spencer Ludwig, and a couple of fret board wizards on guitar and bass plus a drummer.

As for their material, Capital Cities put forth an astonishing repertoire, opening with “Kangaroo Court”, which was a highly exciting start to a very fine concert led by “Origami”. The soulful, piercing trumpet work was more than texture; it was in many of their set pieces a frequent lead instrument. They put forth a cohesive modern rock sound that is distinctive for the sheer joy of their playing and the magnetism of their polished live electro maneuvers on the stage. They claim Michael Jackson, David Bowie and Pink Floyd as influences, and the mix of those elements is unexpected, nuanced and highly successful, both in performance and the studio.

They even included a performance of the Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive”, the crowd-pleaser “I Sold My Bed But Not My Stereo” and “Farrah Fawcett Hair”, which is narrated by André 3000 of Outkast. It’s a raucous rocking rouser of a tune that deserves to be not just a hit, but a summer monster.

And as for their hit “Safe and Sound”, well, it provided the occasion for a spectacular close to a very well-paced show. Merchant cautioned the crowd, “We’re not done yet, we want to dance with you guys.” Sure enough, the guys dropped their instruments, a remix of “Safe and Sound” roared over the speakers, and they hit the stage to spastically groove along. They completely blew the doors off with a knockout over the top finish with a remix of their popular tune.

The Los Angeles-based group Fitz and the Tantrums burst onto the stage afterwards with an amazing stage set-up with a LED heart backdrop followed by lead singers Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs dancing and flailing around for the bands high-octane tunes.

Fitz and the Tantrums broke out this year with their bouncy alternative hit “Out of My League” and continue to gain steam with the tour. The group got mainstream attention for its retro-soul throwback sound—featuring a heavy dose of saxophone—mixed with modern pop. Plus, their live show is captivatingly crazy. Scaggs, armed with a tambourine and some electric chemistry with Fitzpatrick, led the party with their high-energy songs such as “Break the Walls” and a rousing rendition of the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”. Their finale included “MoneyGrabber” and “The Walker”, where Fitzpatrick encouraged everyone to make their way to the floor and then leap back up in the air. Overall, Fitz and The Tantrums set had a good sound and an upbeat feel with lead singers Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs showing the crowd how not to disappoint the enthusiastic Chicago crowd.

For more information on Capital Cities, please visit www.capitalcitiesmusic.com and for more information on Fitz and the Tantrums, please visit www.fitzandthetantrums.com