Once in a while, a band comes along that crosses musical boundaries and makes everyone dance; neo-soul indie pop band Fitz & the Tantrums are exactly that. After playing the Squamish Valley Music Festival last year, the LA-based six piece group returned to Vancouver to play a high-energy, sold-out show at the Commodore Ballroom on Wednesday night.
“I love this room [Commodore Ballroom]. This is one of my favourite venues to play with the bouncing floor,” said lead vocalist and keyboardist Michael Fitzpatrick, or Fitz. “These floors are built on tires, so when people jump up and down, it gets bouncy.” And a lot of jumping and dancing happens at F&T shows.
For those unfamiliar with the band, their songs are widely used in pop-culture, from advertisements to television shows. With two studio albums recorded in the last four years, F&T are currently on tour after their latest release- More Than Just a Dream (May, 2013), a follow up to their successful debut Pickin’ Up the Pieces (August, 2010).
“We had nearly four years of playing together under our belt when we went to the writing process for More than Just a Dream. We went in after four years of touring, and just very inspired by hearing the crowd singing back to us and that experience being on the road,” explained Noelle Scaggs, vocals and percussion.
“Whereas Pickin’ Up The Pieces was our very first record, our very first exchange and really recording together as a unit, developing the sound. It’s definitely a different vibe going from your first record to your second because you have some idea who you are but you don’t want to blow it,” Scaggs laughed. “There’s that sophomore flop fear that you have.” But F&T have proven that they are past the sophomore stage, with two major number one hits- Out of My League and The Walker- off their second album.
Besides their albums, F&T have perfected their presence on stage. The energy between Fitzpatrick and Scaggs is contagious, and fans can’t help but dance on the bouncy floors. Throughout their show at the Commodore, their audience interaction was consistent and welcomed by the fans- who clapped, cheered and made heart-shapes with their hands as requested. F&T are known for their energetic performance, which is delivered at each of their shows, from massive music festivals to small clubs.
“Festivals are great but I will always be a fan of a great nightclub,” said Fitzpatrick. “You’ve got four walls so the energy cannot dissipate into the open air of what a festival is, it just stays in there. The way our shows are, such high energy, we get worked up the more we get the crowd into it. Then they get us, it becomes this infinity loop and it becomes this pressure cooker because there’s nowhere for the energy to go. But the temperature is rising and everyone’s just getting crazier and crazier.”
Fans at the Commodore on Wednesday night would agree- the venue was bursting with energy in every corner. Vancouver loved Fitz & the Tantrums, and the feeling is mutual.
“I love this city,” Scaggs said at one point, and Fitzpatrick agreed. “I love seeing the snowy peaks on a gorgeous sunny day like today. It was a truly glorious day in Vancouver, that’s for sure.”
Photo: Supplied by Warner Music