FITZ & THE TANTRUMS, “THE WALKER”
It was a sensation both familiar and brand new when Fitz & The Tantrums filmed a recent performance for public television’s concert series Live from the Artists Den. The show marked a return to their home base for the beloved Los Angeles band, in a truly incredibly venue—the breathtaking Spanish Gothic-style Theatre at Ace Hotel, formerly the United Artists movie palace, built in downtown LA in the 1920s under the hands-on direction of Mary Pickford. Fitz & The Tantrums played its signature dance grooves — blending classic soul and ’80s pop on such songs as the band’s new single, “The Walker” — and, as always, refused to let the invited audience of 900 even think about sitting down.
Fitz & The Tantrums formed in Los Angeles in 2008 after lead singer Michael Fitzpatrick bought an old electric organ and wrote “Breakin’ the Chains of Love” in the same night. Joined quickly by saxophonist James King, singer Noelle Scaggs, drummer John Wicks, bassist Joseph Karnes, and keyboardist Jeremy Ruzumna, the newly formed Fitz & The Tantrums played its first show just one week after its first rehearsal. The band released an EP, Songs for a Breakup, Vol. 1, in 2008, followed by tours with Maroon 5 and Flogging Molly. In 2010, the band’s debut album, Pickin’ Up The Pieces, was released, which reached the top of the Billboard Heatseekers chart and led Rolling Stone to name Fitz & The Tantrums as a “Band to Watch” in 2011. The band’s sophomore album, More Than Just A Dream, was released in 2013 and reached the number one spot on Billboard’s Alternative charts.
The Theatre at Ace Hotel originally opened in 1927 as the United Artists Theatre, the flagship movie palace of the United Artists motion picture studio, founded by pioneering film greats Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith, and Mary Pickford. The theater was designed by C. Howard Crane of the firm Walker & Eisen with major involvement from Pickford herself. Built in the Spanish Gothic style and patterned after the Segovia Cathedral, it operated as a theatre until 1989. From 1990 until 2010, the space was used as A? church, the Los Angeles University Cathedral. After a complete restoration, the theatre reopened in February 2014 as part of Downtown Los Angeles’ new Ace Hotel.