Clifton Park

Review: Fitz and The Tantrums play high-energy set at Upstate Concert Hall

Perform before enthusiastic crowd of about 900
Fitz and The Tantrums perform Wednesday night at Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park.
Fitz and The Tantrums perform Wednesday night at Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park.

“Every time we’re here, it’s a hot, sweaty mess,” said Fitz and The Tantrums frontman and founder Michael Fitzpatrick at the start of the neo-soul band’s high-energy set at Upstate Concert Hall on Wednesday night.

The Los Angeles band has toured relentlessly the past 11 years, playing four shows at the Clifton Park club. The six-piece group also came through the area in 2014 for a soggy Alive at Five concert in Albany that ended up at the rain location underneath Interstate 787 — considered the worst concert location in the Capital Region for its highway atmospherics and acoustics.

After that less-than-stellar show, The Tantrums reportedly were happy to return to Upstate Concert Hall. On Wednesday, they were met with an enthusiastic crowd of over 900 fans who sang along to vibrant, hand-clapping tunes like “Get Right Back” and “Spark” that gave the start of the show its animated, sweaty energy.

Descriptions of Fitz and The Tantrums often refer to the group’s Motown-inspired flair, in part due to the retro stylings of the band’s first hit, “Moneygrabber.” But the Tantrums are just as much a fun pop band, with a new wave sheen to complement Fitzpatrick’s flashy two-toned hair, blonde in front and black in the back.  

Much of the band’s appeal comes from the synergy between Fitzpatrick and frontwoman Noelle Scaggs, a powerhouse singer with the energy of a fitness instructor. A person could get breathless just watching Scaggs bounce joyously across the stage.

She often played the role of a hype woman, keeping the momentum going and involving the crowd in dynamic tunes like “Fools Gold,” “Roll Up,” and “Complicated,” the latter a song about a messy relationship that started with a skronky saxophone solo by James King.

Much of the set contained such high-energy, super catchy fare, including “Out of My League,” “Break the Walls,” and “6am.”

From their new album, “All the Feels,” the band debuted the self-confessional “I Need Help” as well as the bouncy “OCD” and “Livin’ for the Weekend.” 

“This song is for anyone who’s been following the band since the beginning,” said Fitzpatrick before their best-known hit “Moneygrabber,” a 60s-inspired soul song that never seems to get old.

“It’s amazing to see a rock band that makes people act like they’re at a rave,” marveled a concert goer as fans in front of the stage jumped and waved their hands in the air to “Hands Up.”

Smoke cannons fired onstage to kick off the encore of “Handclap,” “All the Feels,” and “The Walker,” as confetti rained from the club ceiling. 

Show opener Twin XL, a trio from Los Angeles, had a modern electro-pop sound that seemed a bit more focus-group tested on self-consciously slick tunes like “Sunglasses” and “Messy.”

Categories: Entertainment, Life & Arts

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