Firefly may have been the biggest music event on the East Coast this weekend, but that didn't stop Baltimoreans from heading to Rams Head Live to hear the lively soul pop band Fitz & the Tantrums. In fact, the crowd was impressive for a Sunday night in Baltimore.
The high-energy vibe started with first opener Ivy Levan and didn't cease until the concert was over. The two openers, powerhouse Ivy Levan and pop rock band Saints of Valory were a perfect combination of the type of music Fitz and the Tantrums were about to play - a mix of loud in-your-face sound and synchronized beats.
Ivy Levan stood out from the beginning. She fell running onto the stage, but got right back up and started singing, accompanied by two guys in masks. One of them was even playing the cello. Her voice was impressively strong, and her shock of tall hair made her look like a badass blonde version of La Roux. After her first song, she joked about falling, blaming it on her "f**king six inch heels."
Saints of Valory came on next, and were kind of a mellow, more hipster version of the All American Rejects. They seemed really excited to be in Baltimore and to be getting their music out there. "Heartbreak Kid" was by far their best song of the set, as they really poured their emotion into the melody.
Rams Head was completely packed by the time Fitz & the Tantrums took the stage, decorated with a pulsing heart that changed colors and beats during each song. They started with "Keepin' Our Eyes Out" and didn't stop dancing and jumping up and down for the rest of their show. Vocalists Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs alternated between doing their own thing and getting into each others faces in the best way possible. Even their songs that they tried to take down a notch still ended with Scaggs enticing the crowd to get more and more into the music. Even though they were already so in sync that at one point the entire crowd was waving their hands together for an entire song.
Saxophonist James King stole the show at points, coming out at the end of "Breakin' the Chains of Love," which was one of the best songs of the concert. He should have come out onto the front of the stage more often, as it's his intense saxophone rifts that give Fitz and the Tantrums their modern big band sound.
The best part of the show was about halfway through, when they did a cover of the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams" after telling the crowd "y'all got to keep the party going right now." They added a funky vibe to the song, pausing during the bridge to tell everyone they better shout the lyrics "Keep your head up/ Movin' on."
The concert seemed to go on and on but in a good way, because the band's enthusiasm was infectious. They thanked "all of the people that got the first record and ... made it to the end" before singing one of their slower songs, "Tighter," and ending on L.O.V.
They led the crowd scream for an encore for a few minutes and then finally came back onstage. They sang "MoneyGrabber," "The Walker," and ended on "6 AM." But before Fitzpatrick started the last song, he told the crowd, "You guys humble me in a way you can't even imagine."