Oct 3, 2014
Gina Orona | Staff Writer
The Los Angeles based band, Fitz and The Tantrums created a bond with their audience with a simple hand gesture in the shape of a heart and rocked a sold-out show at their first ever appearance in Riverside.
“We do not accept standing there like a wild flower! Oh don’t they know this building is about to blow?” said skunk-haired frontman Michael Fitzpatrick.
The show was held at the Riverside Municipal Auditorium on the second story of the 85-year-old building. Before the concert started, radio station X103.9 had a DJ booth set up on the outside patio and greeted the people who walked into the venue with music.
Stragglers who came late walked into the sounds of the opening act Beat Club, who also hail from LA. While enthusiastic, they had a generic alternative rock sound. Obvious influences for the band were Interpol and Deftones. Their saving grace song, “Relax,” pumped up the heart rates of the audience for Fitz and The Tantrums. The drumming, along with the variances in tone (going from loud to quiet to urgent) left the room buzzing when the song ended.
After a 30-minute intermission, the headliners finally made their way onstage and really started the show. Glowing behind the band was a large version of the heart from the cover art for their most recent album “More Than Just a Dream.” The heart was used as a main focal point, and was programmed to light up with the music throughout the evening.
The high amount of energy and fast-paced beat during the first song set the mood for the rest of the night and got the audience’s adrenaline pumping. Fitzpatrick and backup singer Noelle Scaggs bounced up and down the stage while concert goers pulsated and jumped on the floor. The band’s high spirits were evident in the way they interacted with the audience. The enthusiasm they performed with made it clear that they enjoy what they do.
The instrumental breaks, especially James King on the saxophone, came across stronger live than when recorded. Even if this was the only good part of the show it would make it worth seeing. Fortunately that wasn’t the case because Fitz and The Tantrums were all-around fantastic.
They played crowd favorites, “Break the Walls,” “Out of My League,” and “Breaking the Chains of Love,” all the while encouraging the audience to dance along. They also played “6am” and injected a cover of the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams.”
Toward the end of the show, the audience lit up the band members on the wooden stage with hundreds of cell phones when Fitzpatrick asked everyone to turn their phone’s flashlight on. They dove into “Last Rain Drop,” giving the crowd a chance to catch their breath by mixing up the tempo from the original version and slowing it down.
Then they unexpectedly played “Tell Me What Ya Here For.” The electric song features a flute and was catchy enough for the crowd to continue dancing to, even though it’s a lesser known bonus song from “More Than Just a Dream (Deluxe).”
The ovation when they ran back onto the stage for the encore was so loud that it drowned out the sound of the band. The crowd went wild again with the familiar start of “The Walker,” jumping with so much fervor that it felt like the building was jumping along.
Before leaving the stage. Band members made sure to show Riverside some love. Scagg took the time to use her hands to form a heart, “Riverside, thank you so much. You are amazing!”