Mountain Stage: The Sweetback Sisters and Fitz & the Tantrums

Last night’s Mountain Stage concert featured Bearfoot, The Sweetback Sisters, Katie Costello, Fitz & the Tantrums and Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers.

Let’s be honest here. I really only went to the concert for The Sweetback Sisters and Fitz & the Tantrums. As vastly different as the two bands are, they were equally entertaining and provided the two most exciting sets I’ve seen in Mountain Stage in recent years.

Opening bluegrass band Bearfoot was also surprisingly good. I really wasn’t in the mood for bluegrass and was thus prepared to be bored by their music, but they won me over by the end of their first song. The highlights of their set were the haunting folk ballad “Eyes Cast Down” (co-written by Claire Lynch) and their “Boys II Men” acapella performance of “Billy.” Both songs are featured on Bearfoot’s new album, American Story.

The Sweetback Sisters’ new album, Lookin’ for a Fight, has been by far my most played album of the year and will most certainly be near (if not on) the top of my best of 2011 list. Their classic country inspired album is one of the most fun, catchy collections of songs I’ve ever heard and already makes me feel the affection and amusement of an old favorite album. I was amazed the songs sounded even better live.

The Sweetback Sisters are Emily Miller and Zara Bode and those gals were fierce, funny and absolutely fantastic on stage. Their performance of Lookin’ for a Fight‘s title track was especially feisty and their backing band, which includes West Virginian guitarist-fiddler Jesse Milnes, really tore it up on the cover of The Traveling Wilbury‚Äôs “Rattled.” It looked like they had as much fun playing the songs as much as we in the audience did hearing them.

Six-piece ensemble Fitz & the Tantrums’ mix of retro soul, electro-pop and crunchy garage rock also made for quite the lively set. Their electric and bombastic performance had the crowd clapping, singing along and dancing in the aisles. Fitz should really get singer Noelle Scaggs some backup dancers, that girl is a real live wire. Among the crowd pleasers in their set were “MoneyGrabber,” ” L.O.V.” and “Breakin’ the Chains of Love” from their new album, Pickin’ up the Pieces, and a funky soul cover of The Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams.”

Buy Bearfoot’s Music @ Amazon
Bearfoot Official Site

Buy The Sweetback Sisters’ Music @ Amazon
The Sweetback Sisters Official Site

Buy Fitz & the Tantrums’ Music @ Amazon
Fitz & the Tantrums Official Site

Fitz & the Tantrums: Pickin’ Up the Pieces

Fitz & the Tantrums’ full-length debut, Pickin’ Up the Pieces, mixes a brassy, retro soul style with catchy Brit Pop and thumping garage rock. Though not quite as exciting and funky as bands like Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears or Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Fitz & the Tantrums have a much more laidback, melodic sound. Their album is a very good time and I expect their set at Mountain Stage this Sunday will be fun and entertaining. You can download a free, legal mp3 from the album via the widget below…

BUY @ AMAZON

Fitz & the Tantrums Official Site