Ace of Spades was in full groove Wednesday night as a high-energy and highly diverse group of performers rocked the stage, leading up to headliners Fitz and the Tantrums.
The party began with Sacramento natives The New Humans, who warmed up the crowd with an enthusiastic set of electro-indie rock beats. The four-piece band, consisting of keyboard, synth, bass guitar and drums, has been making their mark on the Sacramento music scene for years, and they were the perfect opening act to get everyone ready for what was to be a magical night of music.
As the music continued, the crowd grew, and by the end of the performance, the full house was in a frenzy, loving every minute of what The New Humans was giving them.
"Are you ready to get nasty now?" lead singer Scott Simpson shouted. The answer was a resounding “Yes!”
Next up was Grammy Award-winner Ximena Sariñana in her first Sacramento performance, and she will be back.
"I love Sacramento!" she said. "I want to move here! You have bike lanes!"
Sariñana is a native of Mexico who splits her time between living in her home country and in Los Angeles. Sariñana took the stage accompanied by Alex Wong, expert percussionist and jack of all things musical. The two musicians filled the venue with sweet, honest and intoxicating melodies. Sariñana’s delicate yet powerful voice filled our hearts and our minds and drew us into her world. Instantly personable, Sariñana connects with the audience as few performers do, and her fans love her for it.
"I think that definitely the feeling of community among the Latino population has something to do with it,” she said of her fans’ ability to identify with her music. “Also, I’m a young girl who speaks about what I am going through. I think that other young girls can identify with that."
And this seems to be the case: Sariñana, surrounded by a small mob, signed autographs and posed for pictures for at least an hour after her performance. She obviously has a huge fan base here in Sacramento, and, judging by her heartfelt and powerful performance, this is not the last we will see of her.
Sariñana will continue touring with Fitz and the Tantrums and then perform at the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago in August and the Outside Land Music & Arts Festival in San Francisco.
Fitz & the Tantrums took the stage with an unrivaled energy that immediately got the crowd on their feet and dancing. This band is led by Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs. They are accompanied by James King on saxophone, John Wicks on drums, Jeremy Wuzamna on keyboard and Joseph Karnes on electric bass.
Let me tell you, this band has chemistry! They hit the stage running with their first song, "Don’t Gotta Work It Out" off their 2010 album "Pickin’ Up the Pieces." The crowd was immediately jumping. Their Motown-meets-soul and pop sound is the exact recipe for a good time, and the band fits the picture perfectly.
Scaggs can only be described as beautiful. Tall, leggy, graceful and, yes, sexy. Her powerful vocals and high energy create the perfect harmony next to Fitzpatrick, handsome and equally tall and likable. Their on-stage energy combines to create the perfect mix of fun and jubilation.
Continuing with "Winds of Change" and "Breakin’ the Chains of Love," the excitement on stage and in the crowd continued to build, and suddenly Scaggs is in an all-out gut-wrenching performance of "Picking Up the Pieces." This was the climax of the performance, and everyone in the crowd lost it. Scaggs’ powerful voice coupled with the seeming love affair happening on stage infiltrated the spectators.
“What’s this over here?" Fitz yelled, referring to the 21-and-over section of the venue. "This looks like the nasty crowd over here! Any one of you guys can buy me a shot anytime."
Scaggs, after tugging on her skirt for a song or two comments, "My dress is a little too short tonight!"
"That’s why I put mirrors on the toes of my boots!" Fitz replied. The audience loves this, the flirtatious banter and the genuine fun and musicianship on stage.
To put it lightly, Fitz and the Tantrums is the ultimate band: smooth, professional, tight and together. They wrap the audience in a feeling of ultimate exultation. Their performance is full of surprises as all band members are true multi-instrumentalists. Mid-song, King switched his saxophone for a flute, playing with the same expertise he showed with his saxophone all night. As the crowd cheered, he rewarded us with a dance reminiscent of a band leader (or perhaps a baton twirler).
The Tantrums continued their performance with an immaculate cover of the Raconteurs’ "Steady as She Goes." They followed with "Dear Mr. President," "LOVE," "Tighter" and "6AM." The set ended with "News 4 U," Scaggs gliding across the stage with a dance seemingly outside herself (was she channeling James Brown?).
With the crowd still in a frenzy, the lights went dark and they were gone. But not to worry — Sacramento has proven itself to be a great audience and, of course, the audience screamed for more. The request was answered shortly with another cover, the Eurhythmics’ "Sweet Dreams," which proves to be appropriately smooth, sexy and dreamy, with a unique Tantrums twist.
"We can play one song or two songs!" Fitz shouted to the crowd, and instantly everyone in the audience made a peace sign. They wind down with "We Don’t Need Love Songs" and "MoneyGrabber."
"I do believe I’m transpiring tonight!" Fitz said, wiping the sweat from his brow. "Thank you for coming out, Sacramento. You have made all of our dreams come true. Without true music lovers like you, this band would not exist."
High praise from a band that is on the verge of an ultimate fame breakthrough. This is a band to follow. Sacramento, they will be back.
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