Wednesday, 23 April 2014 13:58

Fitz and the Tantrums Trade Dreams for Reality

Written by  Carly Plank
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Fitz and the Tantrums Fitz and the Tantrums

Fitz and the Tantrums wsg Night Terrors of 1927
The Intersection, Grand Rapids
May 7, 7:30 p.m.
$20 adv/$25 doors, (616)451-8232

Los Angeles neo-soul rockers Fitz and the Tantrums have rolled through the country across airwaves, concert halls and television screens like a hurricane in recent months. The combination of infectious synthesizer pulses plucked straight from the late ‘80s and the retro soul vibe infused by vocalists Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs has catapulted the band onto the national stage.

Following the release of the group’s hard-hitting debut album in 2010, the band grew into its own unique sound with More than Just a Dream, which was released last May.

“Our first record was very different from the second, melodically and lyrically,” said Keyboardist Jeremy Ruzumna. “The second sounded a lot more like ‘80s new wave, but we weren’t trying to be ironic—we actually came from the ‘80s.”

Ruzumna met the other members of the band while living in Los Angeles. Prior to Fitz and the Tantrums forming in 2008, Ruzumna made a living as a studio musician working with industry names including Macy Gray, Bruno Mars and Joss Stone.

“Usually, when you get to that level [as a studio musician], the goal is not to go back to touring," Ruzumna said. "But I’m on the road again, and that is a tribute to Fitz as a songwriter and musician."

Fitz first got Ruzumna's attention while he was singing on a track called "Darkest Street."

“There were some dark, creepy sounds, and it didn’t feature guitars, which was unusual, and that was when I wondered who Fitz was,” Ruzumna said.

Since the beginning, Fitz and the Tantrums' members have been high-energy performers and musicians who modeled themselves after their idols. The band’s early stomping grounds included the singer-songwriter venue Hotel Café, where they broke the mold as live performers. 

“Our shows are always high energy, with Fitz doing scissor kicks, everyone just going all out,” Ruzumna said. “Sometimes I get mad when I watch other bands. I’m like, ‘Come on guys, a little more effort!’”

In the midst of a tour that includes several national television appearances, Fitz and the Tantrums will play The Intersection.

“I admire musicians who can actually play, who leave everything on stage. We don’t leave without the audience and the band being a hot, sweaty mess.”

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