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Concert Review: fun. Live at The Independent in San Francisco, CA 03/28/2012

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Nate Ruess of fun. - credit: Kirsten CoachmanThe New York-based indie pop band fun. performed the first of two sold out San Francisco shows, last Wednesday, March 28, at The Independent.

Starting off the evening was supporting act Avalanche City. Headed up by New Zealand native David Baxter and accompanied by Jon Titterington and Laura Musten, the trio of musicians set the tone for what was to be an amazing night of music. Making use of an accordion, mandolin, and glockenspiel, the melodic folk-pop act received a warm reception from the audience, while performing songs from the Love, Love, Love EP, which was released in the U.S. earlier this month. At about 9:45 p.m., the excited crowd became deafening as fun. hit the stage

Jack Antonoff of fun. - credit: Kirsten CoachmanThe band kicked off their set with,the hip hop-influenced “One Foot” off of their new album, Some Nights, which featured keyboardist Andrew Dost on trumpet and touring member Emily Moore on saxophone. Lead singer Nate Ruess moved animatedly around stage to pump up the spirited crowd. In between songs, a huge smile appeared across the frontman’s face as he looked out into the crowd before jumping into “Walking The Dog,” off of the band’s first album, Aim and Ignite.

I always wonder what bands will sound like in comparison to their record when I see them perform live, and fun. is the real deal. Ruess, whose voice at times is reminiscent of Freddie Mercury, showcased his vocal ability throughout the 15-song set. He seemed to pull off larger notes almost effortlessly, while his bandmates, the exuberant guitar player Jack Antonoff and the aforementioned Dost, brought the band’s catchy pop melodies to life, along with touring members Moore (saxophone/acoustic guitar/keyboard), Nate Harold (bass guitar), and Will Noon (drums).

The band thrived off the audience’s seemingly endless supply of energy, which never wavered. The band delivered in dividends as they led some of the loudest and impassioned sing-a-longs during the anthemic “Carry On” and the can’t-help-but-dance-to “Barlights,” both of which featured fantastic guitar work by Antonoff and were highlights of the show. 

It was the band’s performance of their huge number one hit, “We Are Young,” that was truly the standout performance of the evening. From the opening drumbeat, the crowd knew what song was coming without the band needing to say a word. When the song hit the chorus, the band was rockin’ out onstage along with the rest of the audience.

Andrew Dost of fun. - credit: Kirsten CoachmanLater on during the encore, Ruess expressed his gratitude on behalf of the band to the crowd, stating, “You could have been anywhere in the world tonight, and you’re here with us.”

The band really delivered. They had a strong stage presence that kept the audience engaged, as well as maintaining a palpable energy throughout the course of the night. They put forth a great set list, which highlighted tracks from both of their albums, which were ordered in such a way that they complimented one another quite nicely.

At the end of the night, fun. did what any great band does best; they left the crowd wanting more.

For tour dates, check out fun.’s official website.

Photo credit: Kirsten Coachman

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About Kirsten Coachman

Kirsten Coachman is an Entertainment Writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. She has interviewed a variety of people from across the entertainment spectrum, including singer-songwriter/Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas, Andrew Dost from the Grammy Award-winning band fun., singer-songwriter Christina Perri, and acclaimed writer-director Derek Cianfrance.