Review: Fitz & The Tantrums at the Ogden Theatre, 1/15/12

Categories: Last Night

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Eric Gruneisen
Michael Fitz of Fitz and the Tantrums last night at the Ogden Theatre. More Fitz & the Tantrums photos.

FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS @ THE OGDEN THEATRE | 1/15/12


Fitz & The Tantrums put on a show that was magnetic, engaging and inspiring. Boasting an impressive presence unable to be captured by its recordings, the Los Angeles act absolutely set the stage on fucking fire with an undeniable chemistry between dual vocalists Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs. The sextet focused on the essence of performing. No fancy, distracting lighting, premeditated choreography or no stagey bullshit needed, just expert showmanship.

Right around 10 p.m., the venue went dark and four of the six Tantrums filed out, taking places behind their instruments. Once the lights burst on, Fitzpatrick and Scaggs shimmied out from backstage and dove right into "Don't Gotta Work It Out." Fitzpatrick's tall and lanky Irish soul man stance, paired with Scaggs' rock solid hip-dips, was instantaneously hypnotizing -- a fascinating and perplexing chemistry that would carry the show throughout its ninety-minute lifespan.

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Eric Gruneisen
Fitz & the Tantrums last night at the Ogden Theatre. More Fitz & the Tantrums photos.

Armed with a tambourine, Scaggs played hypeman to Fitzgerald's finger-pointing and fist-throwing as "Breakin' The Chains of Love" and "Winds Of Change" poured from the Ogden's massive speakers. As hard as it was to take the attention off of the two singers' explosive energy, the band proved equally engaging; drummer John Wicks snapped rolls and fills off a gorgeous matte turquoise kit, while saxophone player James King added a third instrumental vocal line to the mix.

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Eric Gruneisen
Fitz & the Tantrums last night at the Ogden Theatre. More Fitz & the Tantrums photos.

Fitz & The Tantrums moved seamlessly through its set, taking the time between songs like "Pickin' Up The Pieces" and "Rich Girls" to talk with the crowd, expressing profuse gratitude for supporting the band throughout it's short history. Fitzgerald moonwalked, ran and slid, hopped, hip-jutted and shook his blonde-streaked black hair with a cool goofiness, while Scaggs kept the show grounded with a terminal cool.

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Eric Gruneisen
Michael Fitzpatrick of Fitz & the Tantrums last night at the Ogden Theatre. More Fitz & the Tantrums photos.

A surprisingly deft cover of Raconteurs' "Steady, As She Goes" showcased more of the Fitz's instrumental expertness, and a showmanship from Fitzgerald and Scaggs that never left fever pitch. The Deee-Lite-inspired intro of "L.O.V." took the vocal pair's perceived on-stage love affair to the next level, as they bent over and shook at each other, stepping into "News 4 U" and bringing the venue's energy to a slow-grinding halt.

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Eric Gruneisen
Fitz & the Tantrums last night at the Ogden Theatre. More Fitz & the Tantrums photos.

Just a few minutes after a quick exit, the band was back for a necessary encore as the crowd chanted "Fitz!" The considerably tame "We Don't Need No Love Songs" ran right into another fantastic cover with Fitz & The Tantrums working some Motown inspiration into Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams." Closing the night with "MoneyGrabber," the audience went wild along with the band, and an unexpectedly marvelous set was over.

Earlier in the evening, we arrived right as the clock struck 8:30 p.m. just as American Tomahawk was loading its gear off stage and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. was loading on a drum kit, several guitars, a slew of electronic instruments and plywood letter boxes spelling out "J R" in lights -- all of which would later serve as tools for distraction as Jr. Jr. wanked it's forty-minute set into boring oblivion.

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Eric Gruneisen
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. last night at the Ogden Theatre. More Fitz & the Tantrums photos.

Opening with "Morning Thought," Jr. Jr.'s guitar neck-throttling and exasperatingly passionate Korg playing was in full effect, with the band's hair-flipping and stage posturing screaming louder than Josh Epstein and Daniel Zott's shared vocals and matching checkered blazers.

The band's sound definitely carried a hefty "to each his own" vibe, as much of the crowd seemed into it's Barenaked-Ladies-meets-Walter-Meego-in-a-Civic-Hybrid-commercial style. Not technically proficient or even willing to step out of major chord line, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. smartly stayed in the safe zone, smiles from the trio engaging a pumped crowd of pale faces.


CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK

Personal Bias: None. I had zero expectations for this show. If fact, I hardly knew anyone who had even heard of Fitz & The Tantrums, so arriving to a sold-out Ogden Theatre was a complete surprise. After the show, however, there was no doubt that this, too, could be in contention for one of the best shows of 2012 come the end of the year.

By The Way:This is only the second show I've ever seen at the Ogden in the last decade and a half where there was no stage barricade/photo pit between audience and performer.

Random Detail: Fitz singer Noelle Scaggs shared with the crowd that drummer Wicks had flown into Denver that day -- after running a 26-mile marathon in Phoenix.



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Location Info

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Ogden Theatre

935 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

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7 comments
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Kris Perdew
Kris Perdew

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. is a great band.  Try sitting down and listening to their album three or four times, and it will grow on you.  They are a tremendous live act, especially as a headliner.

Wankers
Wankers

Stupid free credit score band

Sir Kit
Sir Kit

This review could have been written for the group's show last year at the Bluebird Theatre, except that the Bluebird was more audience friendly, with just enough fans in attendance and plenty of space to move around in comfortably.  I've been at a sold out show at the Ogden before.  It does have good sightlines and sound, but if you like being stuffed in like a sardine in a venue where they could not have fit one more person (literally sold out) then this is the place. My friend and I thoroughly enjoyed the performance by Fitz and The Tantrums last year at The Bluebird, after having been initially introduced to them by way of Daryl Hall's internet show Live From Daryl's House.  But we did not go to the Ogden for two reasons: 1) we figured that it would be swamped, and 2) it was essentially the same show as they did at The Bluebird. It's time for the band to come up with some new material and present it in concert, as well as on a new album. That's when they should come around again, and when we will too. But if you didn't catch the great show at The Bluebird, I'm sure you've caught up now and had an awesome time (even if you were packed in.) (Really, Ogden, sell fewer tickets in the name of comfort.)

Monique Jenkins
Monique Jenkins

i agree. The setlist of songs are boring to me now, since they been promoting their only studio album for 2 years now. 

Bree Davies
Bree Davies

As a person in a band, it is sometimes hard to write and record more, new material when you are relentlessly promoting what you've got out there. And to put your heart into every performance of the same songs over and over again with a genuine energy like Fitz has? I hardly see that from anyone.

Not all of us were lucky enough to catch that Bluebird show, and frankly, I had no complaints about the venue being at capacity. I found myself to be in the company of one of the more polite crowds. In fact, the Ogden is also one of the better places to see a show that sells out. You just have to know where the good spots are to stand. 

And for anyone who loves a particular band a lot, if you're already tired of hearing the "same" setlist after only two shows, you might wanna gravitate towards a wider array of music. This band is still new to the general populace, so forgive them for having a small but incredibly well constructed set of songs to share with the world. Weren't they thankful enough?

Bree Davies
Bree Davies

And my apologies - my comment was in response to Sir Kit's post.

Minimalizedesign
Minimalizedesign

"The sextet focused on the essence of performing. No fancy, distracting lighting, premeditated choreography or no stagey bullshit needed, just expert showmanship." More of this in 2012 all freaking day. Thank you for the inspiring review..

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