When you hear lead singer Michael Fitzpatrick (Fitz) belt out “don’t come back anytime, you’ve already robbed me blind. This is your pay back, moneygrabber,” from “MoneyGrabber” off [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Fitz and the Tantrums[/lastfm]‘ debut release Pickin’ Up the Pieces, you can’t help but sing along and wonder how anyone could have wronged Fitz.
Up on stage he’s fierce. He sings his heart out, dances around, and commands the crowd to get down on the ground in a way I haven’t seen a frontman do since [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Fred Schneider[/lastfm] ([lastfm link_type="artist_info"]the B-52′s[/lastfm]) circa “Rock Lobster.”
Fitz, who’s described the band’s sound as “soul-influenced indie pop,” shares vocal duties with the insanely talented Noelle Scaggs. (Her voice is incredible, but what might be even more impressive is the fact that she still has her hands and thighs intact. She relentlessly pounds on both with a tambourine over the course of their live shows, leaving some people in the crowd–me–with lasting sympathy pains.) Together they sing about relationships, heartbreak and past loves in an infectious style, with lyrics that offer better advice than what you’d get from paying money to see a relationship therapist. You can’t help but think that the writing process for Pickin’ Up the Pieces was Fitz’s own therapy session, as he’s the band’s primary songwriter.
And don’t get me started on their one-man horn section, James King. This dude has one talented mouth. He goes back and forth between saxophone, flute, trumpet and I’m sure a bunch of other horns (but since I’m not a horn aficionado I can’t be certain) with such ease. Meanwhile, I still can’t play “Hot Cross Buns” on the recorder. It’s possible, and I know this to be true because I’m totally guilty, to spend the duration of their show just staring at him in wonder…like, ‘how in the world do you do that?” F.A.T.T. is rounded out by bass player Joseph Karnes, keyboardist Jeremy Ruzumna and drummer John Wicks. Each fantastic in his own right. The combination of this six-piece is a sight to behold.
The first time I saw F.A.T.T., at 2010′s Lobsterfest in Long Beach, they won the entire lobster-hat wearing crowd over during their killer one-hour set. They’ve since toured extensively, graduated to much larger venues and will be adding Coachella to their impressive resume in April, where you will want to position yourself as close to the stage as possible. And be sure to wear your dancing shoes, cause you will dance ’til you can’t dance no more!
Pros: Amazingly awesome experience that will leave you a huge fan, if you’re not one already. Cons: Beware of sympathy pains in your hands and thighs, and wear sunglasses if you’re going to stare at James King for long periods of time. There’s really no need to freak him out, he needs to stay focused on all those damn horns!
Don’t miss Fitz and the Tantrums at Coachella - Sunday, April 15 & Sunday, April 22.