Starting a Saturday night off with an existential crisis is never a good thing, but damn – here I was. While this weekend we had an excellent show awaiting us, my head was in a cloudy place as I made my way to see Fitz and The Tantrums alongside Andy Grammer, featuring Maggie Rose. I was a bit conflicted, because if there’s anything to know about any of these acts before you go – it’s that you’ll want to dance once the music starts… Sad boys don’t dance so good.
So what was I going to do? Just show up, as they say. One foot in front of the other as I tried to push aside my crowded thoughts of bills, obligations, life duties, and the whole “what is the purpose of life?” question as I got my ticket and wristband.
The first thing I saw when I walked in was Maggie Rose’s recent album on a merchandise table: Change The Whole Thing; ALAS – my existential crisis was being fueled again!
CHANGE TO WHAT, MAGGIE?
I was soon distracted and swept away by Rose’s stunning vocals and dream-inspiring lyrics. Maggie has been making music since about 2009, and has not slowed down since ramping up her musical passions. Rose has always stayed true to herself, recently leaving Universal Records for Emrose Records in order to ensure the integrity of her sound and genre overall. What stood out to me the most about Maggie’s performance was how you felt like she was an artist at her core; some of us are just born to perform. Maggie surely is as she belts her parts while jamming and grooving alongside her crowd and bandmates alike. “Be yourself? Maybe” was the conclusion I had drawn for my ongoing crisis as Rose was finishing up her set. If you want to check out some of her hits, I’d recommend “Smooth” or “Change the Whole Thing.”
Andy Grammer was up next for us this evening and the existential crisis was about to meet its maker. There was no time to form a reaction as Andy came out and gave a spoken word performance that incorporated some comments about his story. What Andy said towards the beginning almost put my existential dread to bed as he explained how he wanted to get into music at the age of 26 but everyone kept telling him why it wouldn’t work – he figured it out. It’s never too late to find your dream and “dream” is a word I’d use to describe Andy’s set as he blew our minds for the next hour or so. From his radio hits “Fine By Me” and “Keep Your Head Up” to how genuinely interested in his fans he is, Andy is probably the most compassionate performer I have ever seen on stage. Whether he’s dedicating songs to crowd members or telling stories about the fans he stays in touch with after shows, Grammer’s heart is front-and-center as a performer and as a person. Andy’s set eventually wrapped up after several confetti cannons and spectacular stage performances from him and his band. “Wow” is all I could think to myself.
By this point my existential crisis was pretty soothed; if I could be myself like Maggie, and never give up like Andy – what would Fitz and The Tantrums bring to the stage? Musically they brought damn near everything from the start.
Fitz and The Tantrums came out with full energy and swagger – the likes you’d see of a band mid-set but instead from the immediate opening lines. They were cool, composed, and enthusiastic from the start. The chemistry between bandmates was clearly strong as they took turns hyping each other up with solos performed by the different instruments, and when Michael Fitzpatrick or Noelle Scaggs (lead singers) took turns singing – the other would dance with them and keep the energy at a high. Speaking of the vocals – holy cow can those two SING! The bar was set high and this Saturday night wasn’t calming down any time soon, I could tell.
The band wasn’t the only ones jamming out. The crowd, being so well warmed up from the openers, was grooving along with the band in synch as well. During the song “Complicated” specifically, I took a moment to look around the venue to see the crowd vibing with their hands in the air and smiling wide-eyed. I can recall very few people who were not dancing along by the second or third song of the set. Soon into the set my favorite hit “Out Of My League” came on and the rest of the set turned into a melodic dream.
Between songs, we got a chance to hear from Fitzpatrick and Scaggs as they thanked us all for coming out, but we really owe Fitz and the gang our thanks as this was truly a night to remember. It was hard to move on from this show and go back to reality, but as I was driving home it hit me… where’d my existential stuff go?
When I listened to Fitz and the Tantrums, my racing thoughts were replaced with catchy beats and memorable choruses. While I came into the night asking myself “who am I?” “what do I want?” and so much more – all it took was a few curiously timely messages from a musical stage and hearing one of my favorite bands perform live to find some form of inner peace. Be yourself, don’t give up, and dance while you work – thanks, everyone 🙂