Fun. at Myth, 4/13/12

With Miniature Tigers
Myth, Maplewood
Friday, April 13, 2012

View a slideshow from the concert here.

In the early going, frontman Nate Ruess alerted the audience at Myth that this show was "the biggest headlining show Fun. has ever done" -- and the proceedings played out that way. After initially being booked at the Varsity Theater, the act proceeded to become one of the most popular in the country on the strength of "We Are Young," a triumphant burst of exuberance that has been number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks now. So, anything smaller than Myth (including the Brick) can't hold this band anymore. Judging by how Friday went, larger audiences are likely to form in the future.

What the few people in the crowd over the age of 20 might have noticed already about the band is that the songs are about being young, but they echo a lot of acts that are quite a bit older. Iowa City native Ruess, who sported a Boston Celtics jersey featuring Rajon Rondo's number 9, is a well-coiffed leader for the sextet, and is immediately reminiscent of Queen's Freddie Mercury and Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham -- in terms of fist-pumping onstage charisma and pinpoint vocal dexterity, respectively. It's clear that Fun. feels very much of the current moment, but you can bet that Lite-FM programmers wouldn't have any trouble dropping the  "All the Pretty Girls" between REO Speedwagon and Elton John.

The moderately wholesome (their dads smoke weed, though), smartly shorn act acknowledged the past most openly by doing their frequent cover of the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want," and what Ruess lacks in rasp compared to Mick Jagger, he makes up for in his unbridled energy. He tossed his microphone back and forth between hands, skipped all over the stage, and sang to the back of the room with ease.

Fun. at Myth, 4/13/12
Photo by Erik Hess

Was this sort of classic rock musical pedigree of any concern to the Glee-ful crew in attendance? Hell to the no. If anything, much of the crowd was refreshingly unaffected, and clapped vigorously when instructed, sang along heartily when asked, and had a lone awkward moment when boos erupted upon Ruess' mention of the lively crowd in Madison from the night before.

Wisely, "We Are Young" began with little introduction. The crowd knew every song preceding it, so it didn't feel like any sort of long wait leading up to the tempo-changing hit that had Ruess' vocals burning brighter than the sun. If he ever decides to hit Broadway, he's got the voice to make it happen. Throughout their 80-plus minute show, there was no sign of fatigue in his multi-octave ascents.

Fun. at Myth, 4/13/12
Photo by Erik Hess

By the encore, the emotion of the enormous night had started washing over the band and the crowd. "Some Nights," which snags the infectious sing-along power of Simon and Garfunkel's "Cecilia," fit well near the end, and rose from nearly every voice in the room. The applauses got long, and the beaming from Fun. onstage was genuinely gracious. "It doesn't matter who the fuck you are," Reuss said, grinning and biting his tongue. "It just matters that you're here."

Critic's Notebook

Random Detail: Does Myth always unload their powerful smoke machine upon unsuspecting members of the crowd between the opening act and the headliner?

Personal Bias: I would've preferred life-sized tigers over opening act Miniature Tigers. Their mix of watered-down twee, bad jokes ("Fun is definitely on the menu for tonight"), canned synths, and crappy dancing was especially disheartening.

The Crowd: A lot of teenagers, but some who still could bob their heads with recognition when early songs from Air, Nas, and Talib Kweli played over the PA.


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

Some Nights
Take Your Time (Coming Home)

Second Encore
All Alright

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