The Happy Fits and Deal Casino at Radio Room
April 8th, 2019 at 8pm
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In my time covering the local music scene, I have spoken to plenty of musicians that have watched the landscape change with the evolution of the internet. When every kid with a guitar and a wi-fi connection can declare themselves an artist, there ends up being a ton of music for the listener to sort through in the search for new talent. For the musicians themselves, the path to recognition often seems insurmountable.
Such is not the case for New Jersey’s The Happy Fits who struck gold right out the gates, thanks both to immense talent and the wonders of Spotify.
It began with Ross Monteith on guitar and Calvin Langman, with an electric cello of all things, finding a musical connection and teaming with drummer Luke Davis to officially form The Happy Fits. The trio soon recorded an EP and watched their first single “While You Fade Away” launch to #5 on Spotify’s Top 50 Viral USA Chart the week they released it in 2016. “We got super lucky with Spotify,” Monteith tells me, in the understatement of the year.
Luck aside, though, every bit of recognition The Happy Fits receives is well deserved. It goes without saying that any rock band that features a cello as one of its cornerstones is wading into uncharted waters but it all comes together seamlessly. The sound is pure rock & roll at its finest with that little extra something that lets you know you have stumbled onto something special.
Locally, it was iOnGreenville’s Chris Bizzell that found The Happy Fits and quickly became enough of a fan to keep an eye on their touring schedule. When he saw that they had a day off between shows in New Orleans and Charlotte, he reached out to The Radio Room’s Wes Gilliam who happily booked them for a Monday night performance in Greenville. If there was ever a reason to get out to a show on a Monday night, this is it.
My first introduction to The Happy Fits was a video from a stripped down studio session at Paste Records in New York. The harmonies and instrumentation grabbed me right out of the gates and I knew immediately that this was a band I had to see live. Then I watched their video for “Grow Back” from their first full length album, 2018’s Concentrate, and I was completely blown away. “The Black Keys dialed up to 11… but with a freaking cello” is how I have been describing the band to friends in recent weeks.
I asked the band which version of themselves we can expect Monday night and Monteith assured me it would be full on rock & roll. He said that in the beginning they found themselves being described as having a folk sound but they are fully committed to being a rock band. “We want to sound as big as possible,” he tells me before adding that the shows keep changing as they keep finding ways to sound as full as possible.
He tells me this as the band is traveling from Dallas to Houston as they wrap up a loop of a west coast tour. Then, they have a 12 day break before venturing back out for an east coast jaunt that takes them from Florida to Canada. They are working on new music all along the way and hope to get in the studio this summer and release two to three singles before the year’s end, followed by a new record in early 2020.
I ask about life on the road and how instant Spotify and social media success influences attendance at live performance. Monteith admits that it is hard to predict as their online following does not always translate to actual human beings in the room. On this tour, “we have played to rooms of 20 to 200” he tells me.
To that end, I have to say this – way more than 20 people in Greenville should take the time to visit The Radio Room Monday evening. The Happy Fits are a refreshing young voice on the music scene and are no doubt on the way to big things. They were blessed with recognition right out of the gates but have followed that with a solid commitment to songwriting, touring, and growing as artists. That is a recipe for great success going forward and it will be an absolute treat to see them at this stage in their career.
This is going to be a hell of a show and I hope to see you there.