Last Night: Fitz & The Tantrums At House Of Blues

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Photos by Jason Wolter
Fitz & the Tantrums
House of Blues Bronze Peacock Room
April 18, 2011

Soul music is about power, yoking that gospel id to the pursuit of more worldly affairs, but it's also about subtlety. Grunt all you want, but smooth and steady wins the race (and wins over the ladies).

Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye could have told you that; Smokey Robinson, Daryl Hall and John Legend still can. Fitz & the Tantrums probably can't. Not yet.

The latest contestants in the retro-soul derby that also includes Eli "Paperboy" Reed, Mayer Hawthorne and this week's Billboard No. 1, Adele, the L.A.-based five-piece sandblasted a sold-out Bronze Peacock Room for about an hour Monday night, spewing Motown, Sly & the Family Stone and acid jazz like an uncapped deepwater oil rig.

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Until the very end, It was all force and no finesse, dynamic with no dynamics. It was also loud as shit, the first show Aftermath can remember in a while that left our eardrums actually hurting.

It took 35 minutes before the band even thought about slowing it down, front man Michael Fitzpatrick requesting some "wet reverb" for "Tighter," a Bobby Blue Bland-ish song that was only a ballad compared to the fatback Bar-Kays funk of "Dear Mr. President" that preceded it.

Hair swooped over one side of his head like an early-'90s skater, Fitzpatrick gets by on his party-boy personality and boundless energy more than any great vocal skills. There was a lot of Springsteen in "Pickin' Up the Pieces" - lest we forget, The Boss is not what anyone would consider a crooner, and a big Motown fan in his own right.

Fitzpatrick's onstage foil, Noelle Scaggs, matched his kinetic output with Ike-and-Tina choreography, hip-hop call-and-response chanting and full-throated gospel vocals that made "6 a.m." a true tour de force.


Location Info

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House of Blues

1204 Caroline, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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5 comments
bibulb
bibulb

I would have liked to have made it to this one (what I've heard of the Tantrums impressed the hell out of me), but I definitely agree that a band needs to know how to change up. That was our family's problem with the OLD Flamin' Hellcats - they knew one speed, and they played flat-out for the entire show. After a time, it just got tiring. (Badassed and cool, but tiring.)

Joe
Joe

This show was fantastic. High energy, entertaining and demanding of audience participation. I can't wait for them to come back to Houston to do it again. The sound quality was excellent, my eardrums are fine, I was standing 10 feet from the front of the stage and have been singing Fitz and Tantrums all day at work - now that's a show worth going to!

Barbara C. McAnelly Sandler
Barbara C. McAnelly Sandler

This was one of the best shows I've ever been to, and my first at the House of Blues. I carry a big torch for old soul and jazz, and I have to disagree with your article. The fun of this band is their energy and the funk. Maybe calling them neo-soul is a little too vague, because they fly all over with funk, soul, r&b, and current pop stylings. This is fun, get-you-off-your-ass music, and I don't think I could have had a better time. Please also note that this was their first time to Houston, and they were very personable and interactive with their audience. They really wanted to put on a good show and they did. They literally rocked the house. I would see them again, and take more people.

Andrew
Andrew

I loved the show and do agree that Micheal's voice is less then stellar but Noelle stole the show for me. She was energetic the whole show and really carried Micheal during his stale moments. Overall great show and can't wait for them to come back.

Chynahblue2
Chynahblue2

Sounds like you wanted them to sound like a gospel band or a carbon copy of the bands you love. Problem with that is they would sound like all the other retro bands that Haven't added anything new to the era of music that has inspired them. I was at the show last night and it exceeded my expectations. Next time ease up on your picking apart and just enjoy yourself like everyone else in the crowd seem to be doing. At least Yuppies know how to do that.

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