When Fitz and the Tantrums played at the Bonnaroo Music And Arts Festival in Manchester, TN this past weekend, they proved that they not only have the musical talent necessary for long term success, but the intangible ability to connect with their audience, too. I firmly believe that the most memorable live acts are able to make the audience take a genuine interest in the performance, and this is an area in which Fitz and the Tantrums truly excels.
During their late afternoon spot at That Tent, Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs convinced everyone to momentarily forget about the Tennessee heat by providing strong vocals delivered with impressive chemistry. Constantly moving to the beat, they progressed smoothly through songs such as “Breakin’ The Chains Of Love” and “Moneygrabber” and quickly encouraged the audience to join in singing and clapping with them. Often, they took to acting out many of the lyrics which dealt with tales of jilted love, instantly making them even more believable. Their sound was fleshed out courtesy of Jeremy Ruzumna on keyboards, John Wicks on drums, Joseph Karnes on the bass, and James King handling various instruments such as trumpet and harmonica. The solid musicianship of all the artists realistically creates a 1960’s-inspired sound that’s infectious, danceable, engaging, and therefore, perfect for a festival crowd.
Midway through the set, Fitzpatrick asked the crowd how many people had copies of the band’s debut album, and received a rousing response. With that, he asked permission to take things down a notch and perform one of its slowest tracks, “Tighter.” Even as the tempo dropped, the audience’s interest level did not, which prompted Fitzpatrick to thank everyone for being so receptive to a performance of what he called one of his favorite songs.Â The band was also extremely grateful for the support of their fans and made sure that there were no uncertainties about that. As they thanked us wholeheartedly, I couldn’t help but smile. It’s always nice when a band is musically gifted and well aware of the roots of their success, especially at a place like Bonnaroo, where the days and nights are already teeming with appealing musical choices.
Check the band out at these tour stops…(additional listings available here):
June 14th: Buffalo, NY: Buffalo Place Rocks The Harbor
June 15th: Columbus, OH: LC Pavilion
June 30th: Santa Barbara, CA: Santa Barbara Bowl (w/Ben Harper)
July 1st: Hollywood, CA: Hollywood Bowl (w/Ben Harper)
July 3rd: Salt Lake City, UT: The Depot
July 4th: Morrison, CO: Red Rocks (w/ Blues Traveler)