Indie pop group Fitz and The Tantrums took the stage at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater on Friday night for an intimate, socially-distanced and live-broadcast concert. With cheery, mood-boosting tracks laced with neo-soul influence and magnetic onstage energy, the group put on an exhilarating live show.
First up is “Get Right Back,” an adrenaline-inducing opener off their 2016 self-titled record. The track is a funky, feel-good anthem and just one example of the enchanting essence of the indie-pop band’s discography. Lead singer Michael Fitzpatrick creates an uplifting environment onstage with co-lead vocalist Noelle Scaggs, who’s decked out in red leather pants and never seems to stop dancing. The saxophone, played by multi-talented James King, has an important role in this first track and the band’s unique sound, creating their characteristic upbeat, soul tone.
Scaggs grabs a tambourine for “Spark,” the perfect sonic accessory for her joyful onstage energy. Between tracks, Fitzpatrick addresses both the virtual and in-person audience, made up of 170 socially-distanced fans, and gets a bit emotional about the group’s long-awaited return to live music.
Fitz concerts are a non-stop dance party, thanks to popular alternative songs like “Out Of My League.” Released in 2013 as part of their album More Than Just A Dream, it’s one of those cinematic soundtrack tunes that just stick. Fitzpatrick grabs a stick and joins drummer John Wicks for this number, before running front-and-center with his hands raised above his head in the shape of a heart, sending love to the audience.
The performance also features catchy songs off their most recent record, All The Feels. Scaggs showcases her insane vocal power on “123456,” and “I Just Wanna Shine.” With heavy ’80s influence, it only makes sense that the group covers “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythmics; “This song is only for the grown and sexy people!” Scaggs declares as the familiar, crashing baseline kicks in from bassist Joseph Karnes.
A distinguishing Fitz and The Tantrums quality is their magical ability to disguise ballad-style lyrics with contradictorily upbeat, carefree instrumentals. Fitzpatrick and Scaggs dance around each other joyfully while performing “6AM,” as Fitz sings,” I’m tryin’ to keep up, tryin’ to move on/ Beyond this pain, before I break.” One almost entirely misses the pain behind the track’s groovy electric riffs and buoyant synth keyboard.
The band’s prevalent neo-soul sound shines through in “L.O.V.,” a sax-filled, RnB track that finishes off with a minutes-long jazz segment. A powerhouse dynamic duo with incredible onstage chemistry, the lead singers’ voices mesh pleasingly in “Burn It Down,” a track with an intense energy and deep, soulful vocals.
The small but mighty audience lifted their cell phone lights into the Denver night sky for “I Just Wanna Shine,” a hopeful and mood-elevating bop. The finale of the night was “The Walker,” one of the group’s most popular tracks. With catchy whistle tones and a funky electric guitar riff over the groovy bass rhythm, the track is the perfect closer for the night. With an intimate and joyful live performance and a jam-packed, dance party setlist, Fitz and the Tantrums left their audience with all the feels.