The revolution will have a horn section.
It may not be televised, but it will definitely have a horn section, and I am so okay with that. The neo-soul revival, the trend of girl groups going back to 50s harmonies and Phil Spector sound filtered through modern pedals and wailing synthesizers, kids listening to their parents’ old copies of Aftermath and Music From Big Pink, I am down with all of that. But I am particularly down with the horn section, or, in the case of DC’s fierce neo-soul revivalists Fitz & the Tantrums, a horn guy. All it takes is one guy, really. Michael Fitz and his guys are just lucky that their guy, James King, is great.
Not that the whole band isn’t, though; Michael Fitz is what would have happened if John Waters had decided to start a soul band instead of make movies. Noelle Scaggs has even more stage presence than Fitz, if that’s possible, and seems to be the voice that lifts the band up and brings them back to Earth both. She and Fitz, backed by a band that was more than capable of holding their own against two incredibly dynamic frontpersons, shimmied and shook at each other and the crowd all night, right in the audience’s faces and not taking “this is Chapel Hill” for a flat answer.
And the crowd gave it back; in a near capacity — I still don’t have a good feeling for how full the Cradle should look at sold-out since the renovations — crowd, the energy was palpable, and y’all know how rare that can be in the Thrill. Scaggs shimmied and Fitz wailed and the crowd waved their hands — albeit sometimes on the 1 and the 3, damn it, Chapel Hill — and the whole thing felt like the best kind of revival, the best kind of revolution. The kind I’m happy to get behind. The kind with a horn section, and some real soul.
Full set, including opener Walk the Moon, who were a very Metro Station experience albeit full of cuter more charming dudes, here.