Underworld, London, UK - 21/5
support Walk The Moon
author DR date 04/10/12 venue HMV Institute, Birmingham, UK
That fun.'s gig tonight is completely sold out - with the venue being upgraded the main room at the HMV Institute not long after tickets went on sale - should come as no surprise, because if we can claim that 2012 has belonged to any band, then that band is fun. After the sensational worldwide success of their breakout song "We Are Young", and then with their album "Some Nights", followed by single of the same name, fun. are not only one of the most unlikely pop sensations of recent years, they are also one of the most talented. Before we get to them, though, we have to talk about the support act, Walk The Moon.
Thankfully, and this is no slight on Walk The Moon, they are the only support act tonight. Their set is a burst of infectious indie pop music with a slight electronic twist, matched with an unassuming, even humble stage demeanor, is the perfect way to get the crowd going. It was a relatively bare performance with little thought in the direction of extravagant light shows, instead they seemed focused on the four of them having a good time and making sure the crowd did, too. With an energetic and engaging performance, they cut genuinely happy figures, which is probably why the crowd responded so well to them. Indeed, any time they asked the crowd to clap or sing along, most of the crowd complied. If I knew of their stuff beforehand then I'd possibly rate the show even higher as I'd have known the songs they were performing, but they at least have my interest piqued.
Okay, I'll admit it: I was a little cynical before seeing fun. because I thought that after the massive success of "We Are Young", it would be one of those shows where it seems like the crowd is waiting for that one song, when their other, better songs get barely noteworthy reactions. But, as it turns out, I was provided entirely wrong because this show is one of the best I've ever been to.
The anthemic opener "Carry On" proves to be a great choice to start proceedings, as the entire room seems to be singing along with it, making it far more infectious and uplifting than it ever could be on record. It sets the standard for the rest of the night, too, as from then on fun. could pick any track from their back catalogue and the crowd would only get more excited and the volume would only increase. As they excitedly swagger through songs from "Aim and Ignite", such as "At Least I'm Not As Sad (As I Used To Be)", "Barlights", and "All The Pretty Girls", and the likes of "One Foot", "Why Am I The One", and "All Alright" from "Some Nights", the momentum is never hindered.
Nate's stage-presence, particularly, is one of the best things about fun. tonight. Aside from putting in a flawless vocal performance that didn't tire as the night went on - even as he belted out some of the 'big' notes of songs - it was his energy that was especially endearing. Never was his face painted with anything less than a full-on grin. It felt like he - along with the rest of the band - was taken aback by just how immense the reaction was.
A closing one-two of "We Are Young" and a cover of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" make for an expectedly rousing close before the brilliant encore of "Some Nights". But, with the likes of "Be Calm" and "Stars" lacking, and considering how they could have held the crowd for another hour (venue curfew permitting), the only real drawback, with fun. in such good form, is a setlist that's excellent when it could have been perfect.
Still, this is nit-picking. Because with the crowd singing along with every chorus, and wildly applauding and cheering at literally any break in performance - often during the quieter bridges of songs, causing the band to regularly stop playing all together to allow the crowd chance to finish - it felt like one of the rare occasions when the band could have played their albums back-to-back and the audience would have kept. And, while the cynic in me thinks it's probably usual band-patter when fun. say how it's one of their favourite performances of the tour so far, given the sincerity of their show tonight, and how the venue is at full capacity and full volume constantly, part of me thinks they actually mean it. Flawless.
- 1. Carry On
- 2. One Foot
- 3. All The Pretty Girls
- 4. Why Am I The One?
- 5. At Least I'm Not As Sad (As I Used To Be)
- 6. Walking The Dog
- 7. It Gets Better
- 8. All Alright
- 9. The Gambler
- 10. All Alone
- 11. Barlights
- 12. We Are Young
- 13. You Can't Always Get What You Want (Rolling Stones cover)
- 14. Some Nights