Bumbershoot Music Lounge 2011, Monday: Fitz & The Tantrums

photos by Dave Lichterman

“Soul-clapping, get-down-on-the-floor, moneymaker shakers.” If this doesn’t make you excited, I’m not sure what will. Fitz & the Tantrums is a fairy-tale success story. The quick version includes happening upon a vintage organ, finding inspiration in this instrument, and taking on the challenge of making a saxophone-based album sans guitars. This they did, releasing their stunning debut EP in 2009, Songs For a Breakup, Vol. 1. Fresh off this release, they got a tour gig with Maroon 5. Their debut LP, Pickin’ Up the Pieces, hit #1 on the U.S. Heatseekers list last year. An album full of soulful pop, this six-piece band is one to put on your dancin’ shoes and get excited for.

A full house met the Tantrums when they took the stage and immediately broke into “Don’t Gotta,” and the one-two punch of charismatic vocalists Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs worked the crowd from their seats by the second song. By “Pickin’ Up the Pieces,” everyone was in full booty-shaking mode, proving that even the most hardened Seattle hipsters can’t just stand and nod to a band as energetic and raucous as Fitz. Pure joy and enthusiasm fueled a performance as memorable as any KEXP has hosted this weekend, spreading the sun and the heat into the otherwise dark lounge. The band rounded out their set by sparking the crowd into a full-fledged jumping dance party, a powerful statement to make in a seated theater. They’ve come a long way, and Fitz & the Tantrums are here to stay.

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