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Show Review: fun. / Charlie Brand (Austin, TX)
Show Review: fun. / Charlie Brand (Austin, TX)
02/13/13 at 10:52 PM by Ryan Gardner
Fun. / Charlie Brand (of Miniature Tigers)
Stubb’s in Austin, TX on February 12th, 2013

Check out my photos from the concert here.

I’ve wanted to see fun. since I first heard Aim & Ignite. However, it just hasn’t worked out until this week. While it probably would have been quite awesome to see them in a small venue back in the days when they first started, seeing them at a sold-out outdoor show the week after they just nailed two Grammys was surreal.

It’s safe to say I was sincerely bummed when I found out the day before the show that Andrew McMahon wouldn’t be opening anymore – hope things are going okay on his end. But, Charlie Brand (of Miniature Tigers) filled his spot nicely. Talk about short notice – the guy literally found out the afternoon of that he was playing and then drove the 3+ hours from Dallas to the show. Nonetheless, Brand handled himself very well on stage, keeping the packed crowd singing with his acoustic guitar.

Now, up until this point, I’ve wondered about the longevity of fun.’s insane fame. With Some Nights being – in my opinion – one of the best pop albums in the last 5+ years, the guys have a lot on their plates. However, coming off of 2 Grammys and an already-platinum record, I think it’s safe to say fun. are here to stay…for a long time. After seeing their live show, I am certain they’ll stay on top.

The crew started the set off with “Out on the Town.” I was incredibly surprised at the opening selection, but I was also quite happy, as it's my favorite of their songs. As expected, the vibrant drumming and synth paced throughout the chorus made the song really pop and ring throughout the show. Vibrant and buoyant, “One Foot” followed, with flashing colored lights and a highly energetic Nate Ruess really getting the place moving. The song carried more energy live than on the record, as the groovy instrumentation and “oh-oh-ohs” were made for sold-out arenas, anyway.

“All The Pretty Girls” and “At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used To Be” were absolute sing-alongs, while “Carry On” and “The Gambler” added some mellowness to the show. Actually, these are probably the only instances when Ruess was not bouncing all around the stage. The latter carried extreme poignancy, as Ruess mentioned his family and how they inspired the song prior to going into it.

Needless to say, there is no doubt in my mind that Nate Ruess is one of the best pop vocalists around today. Nothing new there, of course, but the frontman’s range is out of this world. The end of the set really conveyed this. The unexpected “What The Fuck” was a dosage of a fun. rarity that led into the massive “We Are Young.” As a song that meant a lot to me last year as I graduated high school when it was at its prime, so to speak, seeing it live while the whole place went mad is a moment I can’t quite describe.

The transition from “We Are Young” to the even more colossal “Some Nights” was one for the books, as these are two of the best songs to hit the radio in the last decade. The drums thundered while Ruess’ absolutely soared, yelling out some of the most well known lyrics of last year.

As “Stars” closed the show I stood thinking about how Nate’s performance throughout the song really exercised how much of an influence Kanye has on him musically. The usage of vocal effects as an instrument adds depth to the song, giving Ruess an even more diverse range live, like Mr. West. Even Kanye would surely nod his head in approval at this moment, as Ruess could be a “King of Pop” in today’s music.

fun. being the biggest band of the past year (no, Mumford, just no) is still truly amazing to me. It’s still crazy to see how far these guys have come. After seeing this show, it’s exactly clear why – they are the best pop band around. This is a band that has no desire to slow down anytime soon, as they’ve been on the road almost nonstop for the past two plus years. I am wholly confident that fun. will be a new modern classic when it comes to pop music 10 or 20 years from now. Some Nights has that kind of power – just has My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy has that power, respectfully. Fun. continue to take over the world.

Well, some nights I rule the world

Out on the Town
One Foot
All The Pretty Girls
Why Am I The One
At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used To Be)
All Alone
It Gets Better
All Alright
The Gambler
Carry On
What The Fuck
We Are Young
Some Nights

Check out my photos from the concert here.

-Ryan Gardner

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