This post was written by Hatchet reporter Nadia Meher Zaman.
Fitz and the Tantrums gave an electrifying performance with ’80s-inspired, heartfelt sound at the 9:30 Club Saturday night, leaving audience members gesturing their love with heart-shaped hands and waving their LED bracelets in the air.
The sold-out show kicked off with electronic music project Big Data, which opened with a humorous robotic-sounding narration that identified itself as NSA.
Big Data producer and lead singer Alan Wilkis, clad in a black suit and horn-rimmed glasses, grooved to the group’s heavily ’80s-influenced sound. The crowd found it easy to sing along to songs like “Business of Emotion,” a social commentary on Facebook, with their repetitive, catchy lyrics.
After a beat of silence, a giant neon pink heart lit up the venue, cuing the entrance of Fitz and the Tantrums.
Lead singers Noelle Scaggs and Michael Fitzpatrick ran onstage to the tune of “Get Away” while audience members screamed, clutching their iPhones to snap photos of the group.
What followed was a vibrant performance with a mix of songs old and new, including “Don’t Gotta Work it Out,” “Break the Walls,” “Tell Me What Ya Here for,” “6am” and “Out of My League.” The setlist struck a balance between somber and fun, leaving the crowd able to connect with heartbreaking lyrics while dancing along to the tune.
And it wasn’t just the audience that felt the urge to dance.
While Scaggs swayed her hips with a blue tambourine in hand, Joseph Karnes head-bopped with his red bass guitar and John Wicks jammed out between drum solos.
After dancing around the stage for more than half the set, Scaggs asked the audience if D.C. could “tone it down a bit” for “Last Raindrop,” a ballad about the insecurities of being in love.
But the crowd’s screams quickly came back when the band went into a passionate rendition of ‘80s group Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” during which James King delivered a strong solo performance on saxophone.
Stage design made up a huge portion of the show’s entertainment. After Fitz gave a funny speech about a man’s day going perfectly until he found another man sleeping in his woman’s bed, the glowing pink neon heart turned fiery orange, and “Fools Gold,” a song about giving up on love, began to play.
Finally, as vibrant pink and orange smiley-faced strobe lights filled the stage, the group performed “L.O.V” with an energizing bass solo from Karnes.
The lights went off at the end of the song, and fans immediately started to cheer for an encore. The group accepted their invitation, reviving the venue’s energy with the hit single “Moneygrabber.”
But the band had one last surprise in store.
Fitz told the crowd that “Fitz and the Tantrums like to get down,” and the entire audience fell to their knees. When fans got back up on their feet, confetti fell from the ceiling, and the group finished off the night with the free-spirited song “The Walker.”