Tour Profile: Fitz & The Tantrums

May 1, 2014 9:00 AM, By Barbara Schultz

Soul Meets Synth Pop on the Summer Circuit


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photo of Fitz & the Tantrums

Fitz & The Tantrums are pictured here at Uptown Theatre Napa in Napa, Calif., in April as part of the city’s Live In The Vineyard series.

Beginning with select spring concerts and TV appearances, Fitz & the Tantrums are ramping up to take their upbeat soul/synth pop show on a summer tour of theaters, sheds and festivals, including Bonnaroo, Governor’s Ball and Lollapalooza. In April, the band played the Fox Theatre (Oakland, Calif.) before heading to Napa’s intimate Live in the Vineyard series, and then a sold-out show at the Palladium in their hometown of L.A.

Fitz & the Tantrums are carrying microphones, in-ear systems and consoles provided by Clair Global. Manning an Avid SC48 at front of house is Aaron Glas, who recently moved over from monitors. Glas joined Fitz’s production a year ago, after touring with Flogging Molly, Gogol Bordello, Adam Lambert and others.

photo of Aaron Glas

Front-of-house engineer Aaron Glas at the Avid SC48 console.

“Fitz” is a name used to refer to the band or to lead vocalist Michael Fitzpatrick, who founded the group in 2009. The rest of the lineup comprises co-lead singer Noelle Scaggs, drummer John Wicks, bass player Joe Karnes, keys/synth player Jeremy Ruzumna, and multi-instrumentalist James King, who moves between baritone and tenor saxes, flute, keys, and occasional guitars.

To replicate the bright soul and '80s pop-style rhythms of Fitz’s latest release, More Than Just a Dream, Glas’ Avid board offers a range of processing options. “I’m in love with the Waves CLA bundle,” he says. “The C6 really feels like a paintbrush to me. It has so many parameters to tailor the sound of an instrument or vocal. I can really fine-tune different frequency ranges more than I could with an EQ or compressor alone.”

The musicians are captured via a Shure microphone package, including KSM9HS vocal mics on the lead singers and on keyboardist Ruzumna’s backing vocals. Karnes and King also sing backup, and their vocals are to a Beta 58 and SM58, respectively.

“Right now I’m all digital, and when I’m mixing this way, I love to use the Waves CLA-2A [compressor/limiter plug-in] into the C6 on Fitz and Noelle’s vocals,” Glas says. “I get a fantastic, colored, compressed sound out of the CLA-2A, and then I can refine the minute details with the C6. My favorite components of the C6 are the two extra bands of bandpass compression. I still sometimes use an analog vocal chain, which includes an A-Designs Ventura, home-built tube opto comp, and BSS 901 MkII.”

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