Fitz & the Tantrums in Nashville

July5, 2011

Wikipedia:  “A tantrum is an emotional outburst, usually associated with children or those in emotional distress. ” Well, if you think a bunch of kids, hot and wild from listening to great music on a steamy Tuesday in Nashville might be a tantrum of sorts, this definition applies.

There are so many new groups coming out with new sounds, old sounds, old sounds with new sounds and so much in between.  When a group strikes a chord with people, it’s immediate and, from out of nowhere, you start hearing about them everywhere (if you know what I mean).  Case in point, Fitz & the Tantrums.

I heard about them from a friend and then started my typical research.  Soon, they were showing up on major late night shows and playing at South by Southwest.  The rage had begun.  It’s not very often that I start down the road to working with an artist officially until I’ve seen their show.  I do value comments and opinions of my friends and co-workers though.  When they all point in the same direction, it makes the decision very easy.  Then, there’s actually seeing the band.  I know it’s going to be good because you’ve already heard this but I need to see for myself.  I already believed –  this is just to confirm it.

So here it was, the day after our nation’s Birthday heading downtown to the SOLD OUT show at The Mercy Lounge with a dual wireless UHF-R system in the backseat, ready to hand it off to this new group of musicians I had yet to meet.   I met their Tour Manager Sean first and next off the buss was frontman Michael (“Fitz”) Fitzpatrick.  He was very excited to be able to explore the freedom from his mic cable and was eager to learn about how the system works.  As the band loaded in, I met Noelle Scaggs next.  She is an amazing singer as well as tambourine player (which I came to find out later.)

I unloaded the wireless from the Shure PT Cruiser and brought it upstairs to set it up.  As I was setting up, Fitz and Noelle came over and got a short tutorial on getting the system operational.  They asked several questions and were very interested to learn about how to use their new found freedom.  Noelle tried out the KSM9 while Fitz preferred to go with an Sm58 capsule.  They did a quick soundcheck and everyone seemed happy, including Sean who said it was one of his easier soundchecks.

I then took out Fitz, Noelle and their bassist Joseph Karnes out for a bit o Sushi.  They were thankful for the meal as it has been festival food for quite a while.

The show kicked off with a group called Stepdads and then Fitz & co. took the stage at 9:30 pm.  They performed for over an hour and just blasted the crowd with great music and an energetic set list that just got better and better.  The dancing never stopped and I could tell that both Fitz and Noelle were settling into wireless world right away.  The crowd loved them and hung around till the end, despite it being an oven in the venue.  I could watch them over and over again.

I said my goodbyes and headed out to my air conditioned PT cruiser for the journey home.  What a great night of music and emotional outbursts!

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Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith

Ryan is a Regional Manager of Artist Relations at the Shure office in Nashville, TN. He started at Shure in 1993 in Customer Service and joined the AR team in 1996. Ryan has over 30 years of performance experience playing drums and percussion in various groups and genres. In his spare time he enjoys woodworking, watching movies, videography, and camping with his family. His Twitter handle is @ryan_smith1969.

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