Fitz and The Tantrums know how to perform. Bathed in bright blue and red spotlights, a six-piece neo-soul pop group is playing their hearts out. Add in some rectangle designs in a bright red, and you’ve got a pretty sick setup. Seeing Fitz and The Tantrums for a second time at the Greek made me so happy – their music is so upbeat that it's impossible to have a bad experience when listening.
Influenced by Motown and Stax Records, retro rhythms set a solid foundation for Scagg’s soulful harmonies with Fitz’s killer songwriting. The other members add jazzy instruments and pop-heavy production that make each song cohesive to their signature style.
The retro-revival group commands the attention of the crowd. The crowd was already excited enough, but the band was able to make the large outdoor theater feel less impersonal.
From the get-go, high-energy audience participation is expected. When the leads tell you to clap your hands, shake your hips, or model a choreographed dance for you to mirror, you do it – not that you’d be standing still anyway. It’s nearly impossible to just listen to them without groovin’ even a little bit, and if you happened to still be sitting, they made the movements easy for everyone. Now, I can’t listen to the chorus of “Roll Up” without at least twirling my finger in a circle in the air.
The first time I saw them in concert at the Palladium in 2013, I danced, sang, and grinned ear to ear continuously for 120 minutes. Their performance at the Greek was nothing short of this. Listening to the band post-concert, their recordings feel like they’re missing something. That’s how good the live performance was.
The opening acts were strong as well. Tyler Glenn, the lead vocalist of Neon Trees, showcased his new solo work in front of a large red light-up X. His struggles as an openly and proudly gay man – the source of his inspiration for the album – were referenced through ballroom-esque vogueing. He even did some daring drops; it was very cool. I was continuously surprised by the energy he brought to a slowly-filling venue.
X-Ambassadors looks like an intimidating metal/rock band, but they sang a song called “Gorgeous” about how LA is full of beautiful people and it was super cute. The lead singer, Sam Harris, has an amazing range in his falsetto.
Each of the acts brought unique sounds and energies to the Greek, making their own statement and impact on the audience. Not surprisingly for LA-based bands, the most important message was to vote in the important upcoming election, “because Donald Trump is a piece of s***”.