Photos by Katrina Wong Shue
If you happened to be roaming the streets of Toronto looking for a party on Sunday night, you would have done well to follow the sound of all the hands clapping. Fitz and the Tantrums rolled into the Danforth Music Hall with their All the Feels tour, bringing a whole lot of happiness to town.
Show openers Twin XL were a perfect musical pre-party. The Los Angeles based trio have a sound that is pop-punk influenced, cut from the same sonic cloth as the headliners. Lead singer Cameron Walker-Wright, and brothers Stephen and John Gomez did a great job warming up the crowd with songs like Good, Messy and Friends.
By the time Fitz and the Tantrums appeared, the room had filled with fans of all ages. The venue, coupled with the school night scheduling might scare some, but snappy, radio-friendly tunes hold a wide appeal and make for a great family concert experience. With 11 years of touring behind them, the band knows the art of setlist building. The first few songs came from older records, with the hit Out of My League compelling the whole hall to jump and sing. Only after 4 songs did Michael Fitzpatrick, the “Fitz” at the head of the Tantrum six-pack, offer up some new music. The catchy 123456 from All the Feels, their 4th studio album, got a great response, with fans ready to belt along with the band. Fitz and the Tantrums wended its way through a few more songs, including fan favourites, 6AM and Livin’ for the Weekend. Fitzpatrick and co-lead vocalist Noelle Scaggs share a palpable chemistry. They playfully feed off each other and their sense of fun is contagious.
As a lead in to a new tune called I Need Help!, Fitzpatick spoke of how sometimes we forget that it takes courage to ask for help when we need it. From there, he let the lyrics do the talking. The staccato delivery of some of the lyrics served to punctuate their meaning. Visually, the show’s stage production used lighting panels to good effect. Images and patterns flooded the backdrop – all of it with a vaguely retro 80s’ vibe to match the ethos of the music. More hits came with I Just Wanna Shine and Hands Up rounding out the main set.
Seasoned concert goers know that it’s not unusual for artists to don local sports apparel at encore time, so the appearance of a Leafs jersey was not surprising. The twee factor was tempered with the revelation that Fitzpatrick’s father is from Toronto – and the jersey was a family heirloom. Cue the cheers. The encore was a triad of tunes designed to leave the audience on a high. The band started with their biggest hit to date, HandClap. (The collective machine gun, clap-along chorus is a surprisingly satisfying audience experience!) All good parties must come to an end – and this one concluded with All the Feels, The Walker and a ton of pink and white confetti. Fitz and the Tantrums know how to put on a show that leaves you humming, or whistling or clapping for days.