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Concert Reviews

Fitz and the Tantrums

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On the night of June 28, 2011, it seemed that Fitz and the Tantrums took stage with only one goal in mind, to blow the roof off at the Paradise Rock Club. The mood had already been set for the night when most of the concert-goers arrived to the WFNX sponsored show, only to find a massive line already formed in front of the club. The opening band, Mean Creek, had a raw, white-knuckle rock n’ roll sound, and really primed the crowd for a night of great music. But as Fitz and the Tantrums took stage, you could feel the pulse of the crowd rising, having already dealt with the anxiety of waiting in a line that ended with a sign decreeing, ‘club at capacity,’ we were now getting our pay off.

As was expected, the band is a tight group of phenomenal musicians. The rock solid rhythm section is comprised of John Wicks on the drums and Joseph Karnes on bass. These two guys can get funky. The band is rounded off by James King on saxophone and Jeremy Ruzumna on the keyboard, both of whom lay down very sexy melodies. But the stars that shine brightest are Fitz and back-up singer, Noelle Scaggs. Fitz plays the part of cool crooner perfectly, working the crowd with the classic confidence of a past era. And then there is Noelle Scaggs, a woman with an ungodly energy, and a voice that tears through you. Her explosions of energy lifted the crowd to a breathtaking fever. Fitz and Scaggs played off each other like two soul mates, born to sing with another. They seemed to have reached a level of intimacy that doesn’t exist for most actual couples that I know. And the crowd loved every minute of it. They responded by screaming, screaming louder than I have ever heard at a show before, ever. All artists thank the crowd and you know instantly when they might as well just be reading a script. With Fitz’ thank you, this was not the case. Their reception by the crowd at Paradise Rock Club was something special, and the band seemed to react with genuine emotion.

The band played a number of the songs they’re known for, including “Money Grabber,” as well as a cover of The Raconteurs’ “Steady As She Goes,” and a cover of The Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams,” (only laced with a funky break beat and a heavy increase in beats per minute.) Fitz and the Tantrums left the stage and everyone in the club knew they’d be back on for an encore, but it didn’t stop the crowd from erupting with applause and cheers for the entire duration of the break, bringing the decibels to a dangerous level. But that was the pay off, Fitz and the Tantrums accomplished what they seem to have set out to do, they ignited the crowd, and blew the roof off!

The Backstage Beat : Boston would like to welcome our newest contributor Nolan Yee!  Nolan is an outstanding artist whether shooting stills or making films.
Nolan graduated from Emerson College with a Bachelor of Arts in Film Production, and has since pursued a career in film/video and photography. Welcome aboard!

Concert Reviews

Jonah Parzen-Johnson at Lilypad

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Jonah Parzen-Johnson has an innate ability to make the baritone sax sound like bagpipes, and maybe that’s why I cried.

Mostly I cried because Jonah tells radiant stories with his saxophone and analog synth, working the brass and pedals to recreate the framework which surrounds his album Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow: Parzen-Johnson wanted to make “something of myself that’s for everybody else.”

Jonah opened his set with “Stay There, I’ll Come to You,” showcasing the harmony between synth and sax right off the bat. With haunting lilts, the two combined into a ribbon of melody, pulsating inside the ear as well as the heart. Much like the song’s title, Jonah was the one approaching the audience as an experimental troubadour of tête-à-tête.

The back stories and thoughts behind each song tied in so well with the raw, almost throaty sax, developing such strong, emotional resonance with the musical layers. The skeleton shook.

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Concert Reviews

Speedy Ortiz “riiiiise above and gliiiiiide away” at The Sinclair

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The Sinclair was a packed house Wednesday night for the Speedy Ortiz CD release party; as a hometown gig for the Northampton, MA-based band, kinetic warmth buzzed through friends and fans alike as Sadie Dupuis and crew played their freshly-release Foil Deer track-by-track.

What’s a party without some guests, though? That’s where Krill and Mitski come in.

Krill kicked off the night with some tracks from A Distant Fist Unclenching, other goods from Lucky Leaves. Lead singer/bassist Jonah Furman brought to mind early (read: good) Billy Corgan, which I’m not sure he will appreciate. But I think he’ll appreciate this: I couldn’t stop laughing because then I kept thinking about Marilyn Manson telling Billy Corgan that he looked like Charlie Brown.

Opening with “Theme from Krill,” the Boston trio has a knack for rhythm and melody that burrows into your brain. The dreamy bleakness of “Purity of Heart.”  The discordant garage rock and hiccupping guitar and warbly Scooter-ness of “Foot.” Krill’s sound is a good, comfy noise that keeps you wiggling and all that good stuff. Be sure to catch the band at Boston Calling.

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Concert Reviews

Years & Years at Royale Boston

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During winter storm Juno, UK electro pop group Years & Years were forced to cancel the first show of their two-night stint in New York City back in January. After the snow finally melted, they made the rounds again this past March, playing several shows in California, South by Southwest before finally landing in Boston.

Due to popular demand, the show was moved from The Sinclair to the Royale in downtown’s Theater District.

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