By Justin Lyons
Walk the Moon and Fitz & the Tantrums are two bands that you wouldn’t necessarily picture touring together. However, the two rising acts do have one thing in common: making people move.
Cincinnati-based opener Walk the Moon’s youthful energy was not lost on the diverse crowd of 20-somethings and middle-aged folk. From the first note, the foursome succinctly displayed the buzz heard round music blogs since CMJ Music Marathon. “Lisa Baby”‘s growling bass and “Tightrope”‘s glowing synth set the tone with a Talking Heads edge. The synth pop set seemed even tighter and more stage ready than their Music Midtown appearance only a month prior. “Quesadilla” and “Jenny” proved most dance-worthy with jangling guitar and pulsing keys. Turns out chant heavy “I Can Lift A Car” sounds a tad less ridiculous and more fitting in a live setting. War paint covered band members seemed genuinely happy to be back in Atlanta after recording an album in the city recently. When they weren’t smiling, Walk the Moon members were jumping as the crowd emulated the band’s moves. The lone cover of the set showed the youthful exuberance of the band in turning Fleet Foxes’ “White Winter Hymnal” from a sparse, vocal chant to a stomping, drum-filled anthem. Show closer “Anna Sun” may have been the only song the majority of the audience knew, but you could tell the band made new fans with a strong and energetic effort. Walk the Moon’s performance also begged the question, why don’t more bands utilize a side drum?
Not to be outdone, Fitz & the Tantrums graced the stage with at least six band members and wasted no time in getting rousing fans. After performing their breakthrough debut album Pickin’ Up The Pieces for over a year, it was clear the band knew all the emotions to hit. “Don’t Wanna Work It Out” and “Winds of Change” expertly opened the show on a high note. From the stage front to the bowled seating area, fans couldn’t resist Fitz’s fusion of soul, pop and funk. Even slower, more thoughtful numbers like “L.O.V.” and “Tighter” had the audience nodding in approval. Throughout the show, singer Noelle Scaggs proved the perfect complement to front man Fitz aka Michael Fitzpatrick, particularly bringing furious energy and soul on the electric organ-infused “6 AM” and “Rich Girls.” Fitz and the Tantrum’s refreshing take on The Raconteurs’ “Steady As She Goes” was somehow deft and rowdy at the same time and segued excellently into fan favorite “Dear Mr. President”. The encore featured a thumping, dance-ready cover of the Eurhythmics “Sweet Dreams” and a Center Stage sing-along for the band’s most recent piano-tinged hit “Money Grabber.”
While Walk the Moon and Fitz & the Tantrums may not have seemed like an ideal pairing at first, sore feet and universal sweat in the crowd affirmed the combination.