fun. 4/23 iHeartRadio Theater NYC Review

By Michel Dussack

To say that fun. have been having a great few months would be the understatement of the year in the music world. Their single ‘We Are Young’ has been covered by Glee and was used in a massive Super Bowl commercial, and as a result the song reached the number 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and set all kinds of sales records. On April 23, iHeartRadio hosted a private contest only show with the band for a lucky 200 fans, a now intimate showcase for a group who will be playing two sold out shows at the massive Terminal 5.

The band arrived on stage to a massive array of lights, most notable being the group of lights behind the band that alternated between “f”, “u”, and “n.” as they began with ‘One Foot’ off their latest album ‘Some Nights’. Vocalist Nate Ruess, previously of The Format, sounded pitch perfect throughout the bands six song set – so perfect in fact, that the use of autotune on a handful of tracks off ‘Some Nights’ seems pointless in hindsight.

“Walking the Dog” from fun.’s debut album “Aim and Ignite” was next and it highlighted one of the problems that bands with a massive single typically suffer from. While everyone at the show was quick to say they were a big fan, the fact is, the majority of the crowd was unfamiliar with their early material. Guitarist Jack Antonoff’s riff sounded like a mix of surf rock and Vampire Weekend, and the track allowed all the members to showcase their vocals – most notably touring member Emily Moore who plays guitar, vocals, brass, and sings. The additional touring members, Nate Harold on bass, and Will Noon on drums rounded out the band’s sound.

“Carry On” followed, and without a doubt, this should be the next single from the album. It starts off as a quiet, restrained acoustic number, but about halfway through, it’s bursting with powerful vocals from Ruess and Queen influenced electric guitar solos. Another track from the debut album, ‘Barlights’ followed, and again the crowd seemed largely unfamiliar with it, though they certainly enjoyed it, especially the sing along that Ruess helped to orchestrate.

At this point, Ruess thanked the crowd for being wonderful and explained that the band had taped for Letterman earlier in the day and that they had two more songs for us. Surprisingly, they chose to play ‘We Are Young’ next which elicited a great reaction from the crowd. At one point, Ruess stepped away from his microphone to allow the crowd to take over the song, and he smiled listening to the crowd try to hit some of the higher notes.

Andrew Dost, the guy who plays nearly all the instruments except guitar on the albums, lead a gorgeous piano introduction for the last song of the night, “Some Nights”. The track seemed extra polished live, and traded a bit of the African based drumming for a more rock vibe. It was the perfect way to cap off an intimate set with the band. As everyone filed out of the venue, several awful puns were made regarding “having fun” at the show, but thankfully, I’ve spared you from any in this review.

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