Two days after the legendary David Crosby and Graham Nash sang “Teach Your Children”, neo-soul group Fitz and the Tantrums joined the growing list of musicians who have performed at Zuccotti Park in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The band performed an unplugged, two-song set whose lyrics and overall message would strike a chord any protestor. Prior to the performance, Frontman Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick announced, “We wanted to show our support to the Occupy Wall Street protestors everywhere who are keeping the focus on the culture of greed that is pervasive in our financial institutions and the lack of reform and accountability that has taken place.” Based out of Los Angeles, the band who Rolling Stone Magazine haled as a “Band to Watch” back in April, has spent the last year rising up the charts and taking the music festival scene by storm, with soulful old-fashioned melodies and vivacious live performances.
An early morning gig, the 6-piece group’s lively performance incited Zuccotti’s sleeping protestors to rise n’ shine from their tents, the crowd growing with each verse sung. Their most popular record “Moneygrabber” served as a natural opening number. While the song was initially written about a no-good greedy, lying and cheating significant other, there is definitely a comparison to be had to Wall Street’s capitalists. The song’s chorus reads “ Don’t comeback anytime, I’ve already had your kind. This is your payback, money grabber“, which could easily allude to protestors frustrations with the Wall Street set and their efforts to combat corporate greed through protest. Fitzpatrick and his fellow lead singer Noelle Scaggs belted out the feel-good tune in accompaniment with the saxophone, tambourine, drums, and clapping from the crowd. The climax of the performance was without question the breakdown towards the song’s end. “One is for the money, two is for the greed” they sing out set to a cadence of soul-claps. “And three times that I told you you’re the one I just don’t need.”
Fitz and the Tantrums’ second and closing number, entitled “Dear Mr. President” (not to be confused with the Pink song of the same name) served as another feasible anthem for those rallying. In open-ended lyrics addressing the President, Fitz and the gang sing the chorus” Hey, put your foot down and take a look round. Don’t like what you see. No No No No No No.” Everyone broke out in cheer during the song’s last verse which melodically pleaded “Dear Mr. President there is trouble in the streets. Now is the time and test we must meet.” The lyrics ended on “Dear Mr. President, take a look around. Please Mr. President.” The amalgamation of protestors, media, and fans of the band erupted into cheers at the end of the set and one guy shouted out “You guys are the Fine Young Cannibals of Occupy Wall Street!”
Helping to give Occupy Wall Street a louder voice, bands like Fitz and the Tantrums echo the sentiments of the Occupy Wall Protestors on a larger stage. “We are not anti-capitalist but we are not in support of an untethered Wall Street without regulations [....]“ Fitz pre-show announcement additionally stated. “We Need Reform Now.”
Watch my video of Fitz and the Tantrums performing “Moneygrabber” below!
Thank you to photographer Amelia Burns for snapping this image of me as enjoyed Fitz and the Tantrums’ performancexx