The Fitz and the Tantrums show last night at Apogee Studios was a double homecoming show. The soulful L.A.-based sextet not only played it first full show for its new album, More Than Just a Dream, the set was recorded for KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic,” one of the first radio shows (and stations) to push the band’s debut album.
At one point, singer Michael Fitzpatrick got a bit emotional about the station’s role in the band’s success, describing how station listeners knew the words to the songs on Pick Up the Pieces by heart after the band returned from its first tour. “It was the first time anyone had sang our songs back to us,” he said.
With the band’s followup full-length in store for only two days prior to Thursday night’s set, there were few chances for sing-a-longs. Kicking off with “Keeping Our Eyes Out,” Fitz and the Tantrums ripped through nearly every track from the new album, picking up energy as the set progressed and feeding off the crowd’s energy and the cramped stage set-up. (Six musicians on Apogee’s stage leaves little room for anything else).
Of the ten tunes, “Out of My League,” the first single on More Than Just a Dream, was the standout. A marriage of the band’s blue-eyed soul and new wave revivalism condensed into three-and-a-half minutes, it’s pop music destined to send hip bar patrons sidling onto the dance floor. Heard live, the song has an added sense of urgency.
“House on Fire,” credited to drummer John Wicks, has the type of groove that recalls summer afternoons spent listening to Hall and Oates cassettes. But it was the last song, “The Walker,” which Fitzpatrick dedicated to Marc Abrams (a.k.a. the Silver Lake Walker) that got the tightly-packed audience moving. Joined by fellow vocalist Noelle Scaggs, they did a synchronized dance for the mid-song breakdown and culminating with an infectious scream-along chorus: “Oh! Here we go! Feel it in my soul!”
The set will air on KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” on May 14.