Every once in a while, a band comes along that has the ability to coax audiences to their feet: enter Fitz and the Tantrums.
Their catchy and colorful funk driven pop ballads such as “Out of My League,” “The Walker,” and “MoneyGrabber” have infiltrated everything from commercials to amphitheaters, and now USF students will get to dance along.
The neo-soul darlings will make a stop to sing and dance with the Bulls at the Sun Dome on Wednesday at 8 p.m.
The band is no stranger to the Tampa area. Last year they opened for Bruno Mars at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, and performed at the Coastline Festival at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre last November.
This time around, they have increased the production, adding a new light show as well as props — most notably a giant heart based on the cover art of their latest album, “More Than Just a Dream.”
The band’s keyboardist, Jeremy Ruzumna, said performing music is something he has wanted to do since he was a kid.
He achieved mainstream success in 1999 when the song he co-wrote with Macy Gray, “I Try,” reached the top of the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 chart.
“It completely defies the odds to have anything like that ever happen,” he said. “I’m just really lucky.”
Ruzumna has watched the music industry grow and evolve for many years. He noted that bands moving away from strict label production and to a style that focuses more on self-production “influences creativity.” He said it allows more people to make and distribute music much faster and on a much broader scale.
“We take it for granted that we can record a song on a laptop with no money … and put it on YouTube that night and have it accessible to the entire world,” Ruzumna said. “That wasn’t in anybody’s consciousness back in the ‘90s.”
In fact, the entire first Tantrums album was recorded in lead singer Michael Fitzpatrick’s living room, a concept unheard of early in Ruzumna’s career.
“We had no one telling us what to do,” Ruzumna said. “No one was telling us what
to sound like.”
This amount of freedom is part of what gives the Tantrums their undeniably original sound. Heavily influenced by a mix of old soul and hip-hop, the songs that make up their catalogue are loud, catchy and hard to classify as a single genre.
Recently, Fitz and the Tantrums have released two new singles that have both done very well on the charts. The Tantrums also have plans to produce a new album soon. Though they will be busy touring and performing at a number of music festivals across the country over the next few months, they haven’t stopped making new music.
“We don’t take breaks,” Ruzumna said. “We’ve got another one up our sleeves.”