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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Fitz & the Tantrums: Hot show on a cool evening

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fitz & the Tantrums frontman Michael "Fitz" Fitzpatrick performs during Saturday's outdoor show at DePauw's Bowman Park.

Assistant Editor

The steam rolling from the temporary stage at DePauw's Bowman Park Saturday night was from a smoke machine ... I think.

With a hot band playing on a cold night, it was hard to tell.

The well-oiled machine that is Fitz & the Tantrums owned the night, bringing their indie soul to Greencastle for the first time. We can only hope it's not the last.

You can listen to an album over and over and over again (and my CD player might well be boring a hole in the band's 2010 debut LP "Pickin' up the Pieces") but you really learn what a band is all about when you see them live.

This band has it -- a tight sound featuring two charismatic singers, a one-man horn section, great sounds coming from the keys and a top-shelf rhythm section. Six players and no weak link.

Saturday was about more than the sound. Vocalists Fitz (Michael Fitzpatrick) and Noelle Scaggs are captivating onstage.

Fitz exudes cool, owning the stage the moment he walks on it. Scaggs is his perfect foil, providing harmony or antagonism or a bit of sexual tension, depending on the song.

Their chemistry drives the show.

But none of this mentions the songs. They give fans what they want: a set featuring all 10 songs from "Pickin' Up the Pieces," covers of the Raconteurs and the Eurythmics and a couple of songs written since the release of the last record.

"Wake Up" is a song that's been a part of the band's live shows for two years, but "6 a.m." is a new one. If it's a sneak peak of new album due for release this winter, it will be worth the investment.

The band also showed they know how to end a show, walking offstage having played a 12-song set featuring nine of the 10 songs from the last record.

Conveniently, the remaining song was "Moneygrabber," the track that has brought more notoriety than anything else on the record.

Chants of "One more song!" and "Fitz! Fitz! Fitz!" coaxed the band back onstage for a couple more.

Following the cover of "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" the crowd got the song many had come for, complete with some rousing audience participation.

On an evening Scaggs called "cold as hell," the music and the movement provided some warmth for everyone involved.

There are much worse ways to spend a cold October evening.