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This Week in Live Music: Fitz and the Tantrums, War on Drugs, Dan Croll, and More

Fitz and the Tantrums bring their hyper brand of nu-soul to the Fox Theater this Thursday. Photo via BB Gun Press

Making summer festival plans? Yes, Coachella is right around the bend, but remember there's so much more to be had around the country: Governor's Ball in NYC (June 6-8), Jazz Fest in New Orleans (April 25-May 4), Lollapalooza in Chicago (August 1-3) and, of course, Bonnaroo in the middle of nowhere, Tennessee (June 12-15). Time to rack up those miles.

OK, back to the local motion:

Thursday: Fitz & The Tantrums at Fox Theater

If you’ve ever seen a Fitz and the Tantrums show before, you know the action is absurdly fast and energetic. Soul on crack, a thousand moves a second, all smiles, basically all of the fun. So it should come as little surprise to learn F&T drummer John Wicks runs to stay in shape, as pointed out in this profile that doubles as a how-to-not-die-on-tour guide. What’s kinda crazy is the distance Wicks runs.  This isn’t just a quick jog before a gig. Wicks runs ultra marathons, which are typically at least 50 MILES. FIFTY. Don’t feel lazy about this news. Feel inspired. If you have one of those fancy watches that tracks distance traveled, I bet you could dance a mile’s worth of carbs off at a Fitz show.

Tuesday and Wednesday: The War On Drugs at The Independent

I get chills listening to The War on Drugs, and I’m not alone. All the cool kids are doing it. “(The) album truly sounds like it’s coming to life,” - Conseqeuence of Sound. “The War On Drugs aims for listeners’ feelings about them, and for our collective radio unconscious,” - The A.V. Club. “The War on Drugs continue to recreate classic rock in their own image and in doing so they created a classic album of their own.” “The album is loaded with songs whose greatness is revealed slowly, where the simplest, most understated chord change can blow a track wide open and elevate it from simply pretty to absolutely devastating,” - Pitchfork. This is Springsteen and Dylan, in your ears, and onto your veins. (btw, 2011 album Slave Ambient is still better).

Thursday: Cedric Gervais at Ruby Skye

Gervais’s remix of Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness” garnered him the 2014 Grammy for Best Remix, a category with some serious notables: Skrillex, Justice, Benny Benassi and David Guetta, just to name a few. The French-born Miami-based DJ is an international presence, but he’s been focusing on building up his domestic rep recently, taking up residencies in Las Vegas, New York, Miami and beyond. Now San Francisco gets their shot at the maverick producer on the rise.

Saturday: Dan Croll at Great American Music Hall

Dan Croll’s music lives in various forms: quirky Afropop, thoughtful singer-songwriter whimsy, dancey- electro fun and the dark matter fringes of pop music. But, teenage girls take note, he’s really a young pop star waiting to happen. His new album Sweet Disarray manages to address all of the aforementioned niches while building on the Britpop traditions of yore. Filter magazine summed it up best: “In all, Croll performs a remarkable juggling act that never crosses over into clever-for-clever’s-sake. A rare debut, as well crafted as it is likeable.”  


THE WEEK THAT WAS

Fanfarlo at Great American Music Hall

Wednesday night’s Fanfarlo show was one of those “desert of the mind” dates on a band’s tour, according to frontman Justin Finch, where the gigs start to blend together and a person just loses himself in the disillusionment. It can be a beautiful thing, or at least it sure sounded like the band was in a world of its own. Layers upon layers of band-geek instrumentation (including a musical saw!) made for refreshingly non-synthetic, high-production value fare, a rare treat in today’s “play it over a loop” live laziness.

London Grammar at Independent

Hannah Reid, will you marry us? Please? Turns out, the London Grammar lead singer and femme fatale is every bit as charming as she is easy on the eyes and ears. It’d be easy to see how things could get to the head of 24-year-old Mercury Prize nominee and Disclosure collaborator, but Reid came across as the down-to-earth girl next store Thursday night at the Independent. THE NERVE. No seriously, the nerve and confidence that comes across in her voice is surreal, but follow along to the haunting lyrics and an audience becomes unnerved. Also, We can see why opener Highasakite is on Justin Vernon’s radar. The Norwegian pop band verges on the borderline-cinematic grand sounds and moments Bon Iver makes a living on. More please.

Follow @ChrisTrenchard for more words like these.