Photos: Fitz and the Tantrums at the Westland Mall Drive-In
It’s Friday night in Columbus and after a six month starvation from live music there’s an actual national touring act playing in front of actual humans on an actual stage. Is the world finally fixed? Can we get within 6 feet of each other again? Well, sadly, no. But, thanks to Prime Social Group and CD102.5, radio favorites Fitz and the Tantrums helped lift the Covid blues with a socially-distanced show at the Westland Mall Drive-In.
Let me get this one out of the way early: Drive-in shows are cold (not just the temperature), weird, and no real substitute for a coming together with your fellow fans in a sold-out mosh pit. But, this isn’t a knock against what PSG have done here. The Westland Mall Drive-in is a well-managed experience. Sound and light quality on the large, festival-sized stage were excellent and it’s clear PSG have put audience safety first by giving each car space ample room to toss out a lawn-chair or two and relax without fear.
Now, how about the actual music? Well, if I were to write up a list of bands that the world needs to see live in 2020, then Fitz and the Tantrums would certainly be on it. Over the years I’ve seen them performing throughout Columbus and they’ve never disappointed. The positive, feel-good attitude the band exudes was more than welcome and watching leads Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs joyously perform was as infectious as ever as the socially-distanced crowd waved their hands in the air and erm….honked their horns in approval.
The band played a solid collection of older hits and newer cuts from their 2019 All The Feels release, and thanks to the backing of constant radio play on CD102.5, even the most casual of fans would’ve been familiar with the dance-along sounds of “123456,” “Handclap,” and the one that started it all, “MoneyGrabber.”
Cincinnati newcomers, The Heavy Hours opened the show with an enjoyable set of radio-ready melodic-pop-rock whose mature songwriting and polished stage presence came as a surprise from a relatively new band. Keep an eye on these guys.
Ultimately, it may be a while before real concerts are back and perhaps drive-in shows are the only sustainable way to play for now, and it is an upgrade from watching your favourite artists on a laptop screen. Still, It’s far from my perfect concert experience, but, for right now, this is the best solution for a worst case scenario.
Matt Ellis is a freelance photographer who covers bands that visit the city and the Columbus Crew MLS team. More about Matt can be found on his Instagram.
All photos by Matt Ellis