As the Lower East Side abandoned the heat of summer and welcomed the cool city nights of fall, Mercury Lounge welcomed an indie-pop powerhouse tour featuring fun. and Miniature Tigers, with support from locals New Numbers and DJ F-Word.
Arriving at 10PM, I regrettably missed the first two acts but luckily caught Arizona’s Miniature Tigers. Fronted by the fashionably awkward, yet remarkably talented Charlie Brand, the quartet was solid for nearly an hour. Algernon Quashie complemented Brand’s acoustic guitar with thick leads and keys, while the multi-talented Alex Gerber and Rick Schaier swapped between bass and percussion. The band drew heavily from their debut full-length (released a year ago to the day), Tell It to the Volcano but also threw in some older cuts and a rousing cover of the 1975 smash “Mama Mia”–and with soaring harmonies, comparisons to Abba are not that far off.
Headliners fun. began at 11PM with the enormous opening hook of “Benson Hedges”: “Holy Ghost, when do you come out and play, because if the Lord is going to find me, he’d better start looking today!”
In perfect harmony, the lines set the stage for the band’s stellar eleven-song performance. Featuring an all-star cast including The Format’s Nate Ruess, Anathallo’s Andrew Dost, and Steel Train’s Jack Antonoff, the band’s experience on stage showed; Fun unquestionably proved that their debut, Aim and Ignite, was not studio trickery.
“I Wanna be the One” and “All the Pretty Girls” received incredible treatment before Fun shifted gears to Ruess’s previous band The Format with an excellent performance of “Dog Problems”. The lighthearted “Light a Roman Candle with Me” was especially well-done.
Used to being the frontman in Steel Train, Antonoff seemed to be jovially fighting Ruess for attention the entire night. Antonoff and Ruess traded banter about the tour, remarking that they needed to get in shape as they constantly gasped for air; when not in a tour van, the band works out to a cheesy aerobics video. A recurring joke through the night was that the band’s moniker should be “Fun: Slightly Less Douchey”, in response to their less-than-rockstar like behavior.
The soft, autobiographical “The Gambler” was one of the night’s strongest songs, with Dost providing beautiful piano for Ruess to tell a story over. Another The Format song (“If Work Permits”) preceded the extremely catchy “At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used to Be)” before the band left, encoring with a colossal performance of “Take Your Time (Coming Home). The full set:
I Wanna Be the One
All the Pretty Girls
Dog Problems (The Format cover)
Light a Roman Candle with Me
Walking the Dog
If Work Permits (The Format cover)
At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used to Be)
Take Your Time (Coming Home)
The eleven-song setlist was amazing, as Fun performed their entire catalog sans “Be Calm” and “Walking the Dog II”. Ruess is an excellent vocalist, and the Fun touring band (which includes three additional members including the extremely talented Maggie Mayln) clicks extremely well with Antonoff and Dost.
Fun is on the road until at least November, with headlining dates leading into a tour with Taking Back Sunday. Don’t miss Fun in 2009, contenders for the year’s best new band.
inTuneMusic is very interested in any submissions/corrections from this event including photographs, setlists, and audio/video. Please contact us, you will receive complete credit for any submission.