I loved the Format, FUN. lead singer Nate Reuss’ previous band. I consider Dog Problems one of the best power pop albums of all time and the closest thing to Jellyfish since, well, Jellyfish. So when that band ended and Reuss started up FUN., I was already on board.
The band’s first album, Aim and Ignite, had many of the elements that made the Format so incredible — great harmonies, tremendous hooks, and interesting song structures. The newest album, blockbuster Some Nights, extends those strengths but adds more mainstream pop and hip-hop touches. Though the new one has dramatically increased the band’s profile, my preferences fall more in line with the first record. That said, I’d been waiting a long time to see many of these songs performed live. Man, oh man, did FUN. deliver.
After an odd opening set by Now, Now — think a sleepy, harmless Lush, so a strange pairing — FUN. came out and charged headfirst into their high energy set. Opening with the frenetic, One Foot from Some Nights followed by the bouncy, shuffling Walking the Dog from Ignite, the tone was set. Reuss’ voice was in great form and the band was tight. The sound mix was a tad high but it seemed to level out by the third song, a soaring Why Am I the One that significantly transcended the album version. With the voices of the audience raised in unison, the song hit a glorious peak. Light a Roman Candle was next and it, too, reached a level only hinted it on record.
FUN. continued to deliver one pop anthem after another, and some moments were borderline exhausting, but the band’s infectious energy and giddy enthusiasm more than overcame those heightened ticks of melodrama. When the core threesome of Reuss, Andrew Dost, and Jack Antonoff performed an earnest The Gambler, it was a nice breather from the rest of the set.
The main set wrapped up spectacularly with the pop majesty of All the Pretty Girls, a fantastic version of Barlights, the mega-hit We Are Young, and a cover of the Rolling Stones Can’t Always Get What You Want. The band could re-release Girls now and it would be a number one hit.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the crowd. The sold out Egyptian Room attendees comprised one of the more energetic and passionate crowds I’ve seen in a while. Scores of fans around me were dancing and singing along with every word. Nice job, Indy!
FUN. came out for a stellar encore of the rousing Some Nights and my personal favorite song from Aim and Ignite, Take Your Time Coming Home. The latter song reached a cathartic level of ecstasy and joy that was impossible to resist.
What did you think of the show?