• At The Buckhead Theatre
Brimming with imagination, energy, and genre-smashing scope, Fitz & The Tantrums defied the odds to become an indisputable phenomenon, a chart-topping, show-stopping modern pop combo unlike any other. Now, with their spectacular Elektra Records debut, More Than Just A Dream, the Los Angeles-based sextet have ramped up the timeless songcraft and soul sonic force that made them a worldwide sensation to fashion a kaleidoscopic milestone that delivers on the promise of their 2010 breakthrough, Pickin’ Up The Pieces. Songs like the impossibly catchy first single, “Out Of My League” are positively brazen with verve and vivacity, demonstrating all the drama and passion of the band’s famed live shows. From the charged back-and-forth between co-lead vocalists Fitz and Noelle Scaggs to the incontrovertible power of The Tantrums in full flight, More Than Just A Dream is the sound of a great band taking it right to the edge.
“The only rule in making this record was that there were no rules,” says Fitz. “Nobody was allowed to say, ‘We can’t do that.’ We didn’t limit ourselves.”
A longtime studio engineer and aspiring musician, Fitz founded Fitz & The Tantrums in 2008, driven simply by “a need to be creative and not lose my mind over a breakup.” He convened an “amazing set of people” – including Noelle, James King (saxophone, flute), Jeremy Ruzumna (keyboards), Joseph Karnes (bass) and John Wicks (drums, percussion) – and quickly recorded the band’s debut EP, Songs From A Breakup, Vol. 1, in his Silverlake home studio. Fitz felt so strongly about the band that he put it all on the line, investing his life savings in the project. Belt buckles were pulled as tight as the band itself, which spent the next year captivating audiences with their outrageously entertaining live set. “We busted our butts,” he says. “We just kept building a name for ourselves, getting our music out there in a really old school way – playing as many shows as we could, winning over five, ten, fifty people at a time.” It wasn’t long before Fitz & The Tantrums were being spoken of as one of the most exciting live acts in the country. This led to the band’s 2010 signing with Fitz’s Silverlake neighbors, Dangerbird Records, a feat the singer describes as both “an accomplishment and the beginning of the hardest work we’ve ever done.” Pickin’ Up The Pieces was released in August 2010 to unanimous critical acclaim. Fitz & the Tantrums did anything and everything to spread the word.
Things soon began to break their way as irresistible singles like “MoneyGrabber” and “Don’t Gotta Work It Out” began drawing national radio airplay. The next 20 months proved both exhilarating and exhaustive as Pickin’ Up The Pieces ultimately ascended to #1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart, and sales numbers to match. The band embarked on an unrelenting schedule that included high profile TV performances, sold-out headline shows, and so many festival appearances that Vogue declared them to be the “Hardest Working Band” of Summer 2011. The first time the FATT camp noticed the ball starting to hover above their palms was at Lollapalooza 2011. As the band tore through the set, the audience sang not only the radio hit "Moneygrabber," but deeper cuts from the album—finally, this road-proved sextet had conjured the lush, holy glow all performers pine for. And judging from the smiles on both sides of the mic, it was hard to know who was being entertained more, the band or the crowd.
Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian, the front men behind the breakout alt-dance group Capital Cities, are a success story spawned by the loyal fans that has continued to blossom. The Los Angeles-based act took both the blogosphere and the shores of California by storm with their self-titled debut EP, out now on Capitol Records/Lazy Hooks. Their electronic-infused pop rock represents all that is right in modern music making, and makes the perfect soundscape for a day at the beach, or a night in the dark part of town, as long as you're ready to dance.
"Safe and Sound," the first single, is uplifting, sincere, catchy, and, like all their songs, full of heart. The duo sings in unison: "You could be my luck… Even if the sky is falling down, I know that we'll be safe and sound" — offering up an inviting message of hope.
"It seems like every generation feels like it's living in the worst of times," Merchant says. "And of course there are horrible things happening, but the average person is better off now than he or she was 50 years ago. In some ways 'Safe and Sound' is an antidote to the human tendency to think in apocalyptic terms and not really look at the logic of the world around us. Things are getting better and there's a lot to be positive about."