House of Blues – Chicago, IL
April 7th, 2010
One of the first reactions I had upon my inaugural fun. concert at Chicago’s House of Blues this past Wednesday evening was, WOW. I was seriously impressed with what this three-piece band hailing from New York, New York brought to the table. fun. is comprised of Nate Ruess (The Format), Andrew Dost (Anathallo), and Jack Antonoff (Steel Train). While touring, the group temporarily includes four other members: Rob Kroehler, Emily Moore, Nate Harold, and Jon Goldstein. Previously, I had never even heard of fun. and was not at all familiar with their music. Genuinely interested in hearing their sound and encountering what fun. could offer live, I can sincerely say that I was pleasantly surprised with what I heard and saw. If you are wondering what the band sounds like, I’d say that fun.’s music reminds me of a cross between Billy Joel and Train with a more folky/pop type of feel. Maybe throw in a little Queen. Honestly though, you will have to listen and/or see fun. and decide for yourself.
More photos of fun. after the jump…
Set List / Chicago
Walking The Dog
I Wanna Be The One
All The Pretty Girls
At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used To Be)
Take Your Time (Coming Home)
Lead singer Nate Ruess appeared trim, smart, and most definitely dapper as he donned a suit (suspenders included), perfectly fitting in with the cast of Mad Men. Ruess was enthusiastic and energetic for the entirety of the band’s set, dancing around and belting out songs accompanied with mannerisms and movements reminiscent of a young Mick Jagger or Freddie Mercury. I enjoyed and respected how each and every band member on stage had their own personal style. All six musicians were dressed quite differently. One was outfitted in a leather jacket, one in denim, Ruess wore his suspenders with gusto, and the only female member of fun. (Emily Moore) had a costume change halfway through the set, but it worked for them.
The show started out with the upbeat tune “Walking The Dog.” I immediately saw the crowd react, making it easy to spot the die-hard fans who knew every single word to the song the moment Nate Ruess opened his mouth. I am going to go out on a limb here and assume that quite a few of fun.’s fans are also fans of Ruess’s previous endeavor with The Format. In the beginning, there was a slight struggle to gain some audience participation during one of the band’s opening numbers. However, I could see the audience becoming more responsive and eventually enjoying the performance, as well as feel the chemistry that all of the members had on stage when working together. Sole female band member Emily Moore spectacularly stood out amongst the other backing touring musicians as her vocals meshed perfectly with Ruess’s. Not only did Moore play keyboards while singing in harmony with Ruess, but the girl rocked out on acoustic guitar, her talent proving she can hold her own as one of the boys in addition to being just a girl.
The remaining songs fun. played, such as “I Wanna Be The One,” “All The Pretty Girls,” and “Barlights,” came across as being much more effective and powerful in action as opposed to the laidback mellower feel I got from listening to the band’s record Aim And Ignite. “The Gambler” brought the tone of the performance down, as this tune is audibly relaxed and easygoing. Nevertheless, I appreciated the combination of piano and synthesized strings accompanying Ruess’s sincere and heartfelt vocals. The slow and somber downtempo “The Gambler” provided a great segue into fun.’s grand finale in which the band played their new single “At Least I’m Not As Sad” followed by show-stopper “Take Your Time.”
Overall, I was thoroughly pleased and truly delighted in fun.’s performance opening for Motion City Soundtrack last Wednesday. Furthermore, I will not hesitate to see fun. live in concert again when the band returns to Chicago. Witnessing fun. perform live on stage is an experience that is quite simply, fun; just like their name says. I highly recommend picking up the band’s debut album Aim And Ignite, as well as catching them on tour this spring supporting Paramore!
Written by: Sarah Seemiller
Photographed by: Jennifer Boyer