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Concert Reviews:
Fitz & the Tantrums raise a ruckus at Saint Andrews Hall

@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

Posted: Friday, June 21, 2013

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DETROIT -- Just before Fitz & the Tantrums' third song on Thursday night (June 20) at Saint Andrews Hall, frontman Michael "Fitz" Fitzpatrick thanked the venue's management for turning on the air conditioning.

"But y'know what," he promised. "We're still gonna get hot and sweaty tonight."

That, of course, was hardly a news flash to anyone who's been to one of the Tantrums' soul-pop dance parties before -- which, from the band's informal poll, included a majority of the crowd that packed Saint Andrews on Thursday. And the Los Angeles sextet certainly lived up to its reputation, keeping its fans moving, grooving, bouncing and arm-waving throughout the 18-song, nearly 90-minute set.

The group is currently in the process of building its buzz-band notoriety into mainstream glory with its 80s-flavored sophomore album, "More Than Just a Dream," and while some are seeing the Tantrums open for Bruno Mars in arenas, Saint Andrews was decidedly more up close and personal, a prime spot to indeed get sweat and also follow the frequent party commands barked out with drill sergeant authority by singer Noelle Skaggs. Most of the songs -- seven drawn from the new album -- were tight and punchy, with only "L.O.V." extended to provide solo spots for saxophonist James King, who wisely sported an "I (Heart) Detroit" during the encores -- and keyboardist Jeremy Ruzumna.

Mostly, the Tantrums stayed on a steady roll, playing in front of a hear-shaped LED display taken from the "More Than Just a Dream" cover as the group tossed out poppy bon mots such as "Keepin' Our Eyes Out," "Breakin' the Chains of Love," "House on Fire," "Out of My League," "6 AM," the pointed "Dear Mr. President" and "Money Grabber." Its swinging cover of Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" has been a staple since early in the band's career, but it also rocked through a cover of the Raconteurs' "Steady As She Goes" as a nod to the show's Detroit locale.

Before finishing, Fitzpatrick noted that "it'll be a hot minute before we get back here," and given the group's upward trajectory it will likely be in a larger space. And if that's the case, the sweaty Saint Andrews faithful will feel even luckier to have been part of Thursday's throw-down.

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