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Capital Cities, Fitz and the Tantrums to play in Stephens Auditorium

Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2013 12:00 am
by Michael Van Zanten, michael.zanten@iowastatedaily.com

Pop groups Capital Cities and Fitz and The Tantrums will be performing on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at Iowa State’s Stephens Auditorium as part of their Bright Futures Tour.

Capital Cities is a Los Angeles-based indie pop duo that began as a Craigslist posting in 2008. Sebu Simonian advertised his skills in musical production, Ryan Merchant responded and the duet began writing jingles for commercials together. In 2011, they released their self-titled EP and started getting exposure in the blogosphere.

“We describe it as funky electronic music mixed with rock and alternative,” Merchant said.

The band is well known for its inclusion of a trumpet, giving the brand of cheery pop a further distinction.

“Some of our influences are Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Jeff Buckley," Merchant said.
Capital Cities' first EP included the hit song “Safe and Sound.” The song is in commercials for Microsoft, Smart Car, HBO and many other companies, so it has had a fair amount of exposure.

The band has been gaining mainstream awareness with the release of its first album “In a Tidal Wave of Mystery” in June of this year. The album’s lead single, “Safe and Sound,” went platinum in August.

“['In a Tidal Wave of Mystery'] is an eclectic mix of songs, each telling a unique story,” Merchant said. “The reception has been very positive; people like it a lot.”

Fitz and the Tantrums is an indie pop sextet also from Los Angeles. The band has released two albums since 2008 and has performed on Jimmy Kimmel, Conan, Jay Leno and CBS This Morning.

“It’s kind of a pop sound with references from everything [from] soul music to '80s electro and New Age," said saxophonist James King.

"We give it our own little spin based on saxophone, and some more sounds that are more current."

Lead singer Michael Fitzpatrick formed the band in 2008 after he purchased a Conn Electric Organ. Soon afterward he wrote “Breakin’ the Chains of Love” in five minutes, one of The Tantrums most popular songs.

“Michael Fitzpatrick had just gotten out of a breakup and was writing some songs to heal himself, to correct himself after that experience,” King said. “When he was writing, he called me up. He said we were sounding great, why don’t we put a band together, so I said sure.”

“We played our first song to about 94 people," King said. “It was kind of slapped together; at that time we didn’t know if we had five or six songs ready to perform. We just jumped in there and did it, and it felt good from the first note.”

The two prominent bands of the Los Angeles pop scene have joined up for The Bright Futures Tour, which started in October.

“You’re going to see a very high energy show," Merchant said. "You’ll see a lot more than a couple of guys standing on a stage.”

The show is an event presented by the Student Union Board. Rock Band Beat Club will be opening for the performance. Tickets can be purchased at the Stephens Auditorium Ticket Office, which is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can buy tickets online at Ticketmaster or by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25 for students and $35 for the public.