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Concert Reviews:
Fitz & the Tantrums' dance-pop party at The Fillmore

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Sunday, November 20, 2016

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DETROIT -- Introducing the last song of Fitz & the Tantrums' main set on Saturday night, Nov. 19, at the Fillmore Detroit, frontman Michael "Fitz" Fitzpatrick announced that "This is where the dance party will begin!"

Dude apparently wasn't paying attention during the previous hour.

The Los Angeles group's show was, as usual, a non-stop party from the first notes of "Get Right Back" through almost 90 minutes until a confetti-fortified final encore of "The Walker." In between the sextet kept a nearly full Fillmore -- its biggest crowd ever in Detroit -- dancing, swaying, arm-waving and bouncing through 18 songs from its three albums, a collection of compact and effortlessly hooky soul-pop blends fusing strains of classic Motown and Philly with flavors you'll find elsewhere on the charts, or Top 40 radio playlists, these days.

The result was ebullient pop perfection for an all-ages audience, including quite a few young children who were up (quite willingly) well past their bedtime.

And although Fitz delivered an impassioned post-election speech towards the end of the night -- proclaiming that "more than ever we need to send a message of love...It doesn't matter who you voted for. We still treat each other with respect, right?" -- the focus was on fun. After brawny opening set by British rocker Barns Courtney in his Detroit debut, the Tantrums' neon-lit show kept its own throttle wide open on proven hits such as "Out Of My League," "Fools Gold," the current sensation "HandClap" and a particularly dynamic "MoneyGrabber." But it shined on deeper material, too, whether it was the urgent, synthy "Don't Gotta Work It Out," the anthemic "Break The Walls," the smooth "Do What You Want" or the propulsive "Complicated," one of several songs that featured an extended saxophone solo by James King. Clad all in White, Fitz was frenetic, often moving in semi-choreographed tandem with singer Noelle Scaggs (who dedicated "The Walker" to the late Sharon Jones) and hopping into the pit in front of the stage a couple of times to press some flesh with the front row fans.

Fitz proclaimed Saturday's stop "my favorite show of the whole (expletive) tour, right here." Take that with a grain of show biz salt, maybe, but don't be surprised if you run into somebody who was there and tells you it was THEIR favorite show of the year.

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