The Bright Futures Tour
Fitz and The Tantrums and Capital Cities
A LocalBozo.com Concert Review
Roseland Ballroom, New York, NY
October 23, 2013
With a co-headlining bill where either band could have rightfully been the show’s closers ‘The Bright Futures Tour’ arrived at Roseland Ballroom on Wednesday night, greeted by thousands of screaming fans. If the show wasn’t fully sold out, then it was pretty damn close as the entire standing room only floor was swarmed by an excitable crowd ready for a full on party. Two of pop music’s fastest rising acts shared the red lettered marquee as Capital Cities and Fitz and The Tantrums each brought their A games into New York City on this night.
Concert Review: Capital Cities at Roseland
As we arrived into the Ballroom, a massive pair of sunglasses were unveiled just behind the drumkit on stage, serving as the eye-catching backdrop for Capital Cities, who would perform first. The Los Angeles quintet’s hour long set would be an eye opening one, our first experience seeing the band live. With the Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt classic ballad “Don’t Know Much” playing them out from backstage, Capital Cities emerged, each wearing the same black 90′s style jackets with the band’s moniker revealed on their backs. As they began their blend of throwback electro-pop with “Chartreuse” into the funky “Kangaroo Court,” the renaissance of throwback synthesized influences making a comeback was easily apparent. Dual frontmen Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian harmonized together during each song’s chorus, brilliantly complimenting each other while live trumpet player Spencer Ludwig was the show stealer each time he pressed his lips to his instrument. The trumpet plays a fundamental role in many of the Cities’ songs and even when Ludwig wasn’t performing during some moments, he was urging the crowd to dance along with him as the show’s energetic catalyst.
The sunglasses display, now fully illuminated, flashed throughout the entirety of the band’s performance during a set paced by upbeat tracks like “Center Stage” and “Patience Gets Us Nowhere Fast.” Despite only having one full length album under their belt, Capital Cities performed in front of the New York City faithful like they’d been doing it for decades. Adding a unique cover version of The Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” was a nice addition to their set, performed in uncompromising fashion with the group’s original take on the song and although the slower “Farrah Fawcett Hair” might be a bit conceptually silly, it’s certainly a spirited song to bob your head to in a live setting. The fans to their credit previously seemed to be enjoying the entire set, but the announcement of the band’s biggest single released to date caused the evening’s biggest eruption. “Safe and Sound” premiered in the United States back in April but really hit its stride through the course of the summer and it was every bit as fun and energy filled in concert as it is in your bedroom when you’re dancing around to it uncontrollably like an idiot. The song closed the band’s main set, but Capital Cities hung around, urging their fans to take off an article of clothing and swing it overhead while the “Safe and Sound Remix” blared through the house speakers and the place became a four minute party.
Concert Review: Fitz & The Tantrums at Roseland
Following such an entertaining set would be no easy task, but the opening drums leading to “Get Away” proved that fellow Los Angelinos’ Fitz and The Tantrums were certainly up to the challenge. In lieu of the sunglasses, the band sported a giant heart shaped game of ‘snake’ as their backdrop, and much like the band, its lights seemed to be moving constantly. The six piece group offers as laid back and enjoyable a show as you’ll find anywhere- primarily because of the dueling vocals of frontman Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs, whose gyrating hips and passionate voice are simply captivating. As a concertgoer, you take your eyes off of her only momentarily and only to see what Fitzpatrick is doing on the other end of the stage. Touring on the release of the band’s latest album, May’s “More Than Just a Dream,” we caught the band in a more intimate venue on their last trip through New York City. And even in the course of a few months, it’s obvious that Fitz and The Tantrums has come a long way in harnessing their live act.
As the band began each song, fans popped accordingly, immediately recognizing each pop-fueled anthem under the sea of flashing colored lights down upon them. Tracks like “Break the Walls” and “Keeping Your Eyes Out” from the new album, were particularly inspired, highlighting Fitzpatrick’s vocal gifts while older cuts from 2010′s “Pickin’ Up the Pieces” like “Breakin’ the Chains of Love” and the familiar “LOV” featured the catchy retro rock style that the band has helped to effectively resuscitate- funky and rousing. Similar to Capital Cities, Fitz and The Tantrums’ addition of a well placed cover song was warmly received and the appropriate selection of The Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” was played to perfection in front of a now fully dancing audience as Fitzpatrick and Scaggs alternated the vocals before combining to work together collaboratively. With their encore, the band returned to center stage effectively putting an exclamation point on the show with stirring versions of “Moneygrabber” and show closer, whistling track “The Walker.” The band, polished and precise, capped the show by pausing in the crowd adulation momentarily, taking stock of a venue filled with fans- some true diehards and some that had been won over by this performance alone. And a handful of the rest of us, completely entertained by two bands that simply delivered, probably more than we had any reason to expect them to.