fun., Ikeda Theater at Mesa Arts Center, 5/31/12

Categories: Last Night

Jason P. Woodbury
Ruess told a story about being home in Glendale on Wednesday -- a story about how his parent's neighbor knocked on their door and handed them $30 with a brief explanation about how she killed their cat. "My dad was like, 'We don't have a cat,'" Ruess laughed, and Dost and Antonoff chimed in, and by the end of the convoluted story things had turned into Of Mice and Men meets Bridges of Madison County meets Hotel for Dogs. (One audience member took story time as a chance to shout out "dog problems," an effort to tie things back to The Format met by a curt "don't fuck up the punch line" from Ruess.)

The sonic and stylistic differences between songs from the band's debut, Aim & Ignite, songs like "All the Pretty Girls" and "At Least I'm Not As Sad (As I Used to Be)" and 2012's more synth-based, hip-hop-indebted material blurred in a live setting.

Aim & Ignite often felt clogged by its own ambition -- a little too caught up in its own orchestration -- which is why Some Nights works the way it does, streamlined but not sacrificing any of the quirks that define the band. In concert, the band leaned toward the straightforward approach, but the six-piece outfit knew the ins and outs, that the dancing acoustic figure that ends "The Gambler" is as important as the swelling synth bass on "We Are Young," the band's signature hit.

Jason P. Woodbury
And a hit "We Are Young" is. It's the kind of surefire, pointed and direct single that audiences sing along to and bands can end their sets on.

But fun. didn't end with it, following it up with an impassioned reading of the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" before shuffling out for the encore.

It's a bold move, but one that indicates why fun. is at the top of the game right now, and indicates they plan to stick around for a while: following "We Are Young" with one of the greatest songs ever written actually felt a little disappointing.

Set list:

"One Foot"
"Walking the Dog"
"Why Am I the One"
"All the Pretty Girls"
"All Alone"
"Carry On"
"The Gambler"
"At Least I'm Not as Sad (As I Used to Be)"
"We Are Young"
"Can't Always Get What You Want" (Rolling Stones)


"Some Nights"
"Take Your Time (Coming Home)"

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night: fun. at Mesa Arts Center
The Crowd: Young (that's no joke), excited, and vocal (hey, lady -- screaming that Nate is sexy all night is really only fun for you).
Random Note: Maybe it's time to officially declare dead the rockist rule of not wearing a band's shirt to said band's concert.
Is This the Real Life, Is This Just Fantasy? Yeah, guys, Queen is the indie influence in 2012.
Rolling Stone songs I could totally hear fun. performing: "She's a Rainbow," "Star Star," "Wild Horses"

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Location Info


Ikeda Theater at Mesa Arts Center

1 E. Main St., Mesa, AZ

Category: General

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Hey! They had a second encore. They came back and played Stars.


Completely agree with the rockist rule death. It used to be a faux pas to wear said band's shirt to their show. You can't even chastise the violators, as the vast majority of the crowd (and even Nate!) was riddled with fun. attire. Total bummer.

Teenage Angst
Teenage Angst bummer. Life can be so tough sometimes...

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