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Review: fun. serves up some night in Columbus concert

Cody Cousino / Photo editor

Some nights I stay up cashing in my luck, some nights I call it a draw. Some nights I wish that my lips could build a castle, but Thursday night was spent with fun.

The New York City-based pop-indie band performed Thursday at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion, and as its namesake suggests, it was a fun time.

But that’s enough of those jokes. I heard enough of that from concert-goers and the opening band, Miniature Tigers.

I had heard of the Brooklyn-based pop band before, but never a lick of its music. I wasn’t surprised by what I heard – a similar dream-pop sound to fun.’s that is hard not to dance to. The band utilized far more synth-pop than fun. typically does, creating an often robotic vibe. In contrast, I also often felt like I was at a 1950s prom.

I found the Miniature Tigers to be awkward overall, especially when Charlie Brand, the lead singer, said he would dump a bunch of promise rings in the crowd because he loved them so much.

While its set began and ended with danceable tunes, I found myself bored and my feet numb during the majority of its time on stage.

This seemed evident of the majority of the crowd around me, too. When Brand announced the band had two more songs left, I heard several people near me shout, “No more! fun.!”

It wasn’t long before fun. blasted onto the stage, and the sold-out crowd erupted when the heavy bass instruments of “One Foot” began.

After three songs, lead singer Nate Ruess (formerly of The Format) addressed the crowd, sharing his love for playing in Columbus. (You know, the typical, “Columbus, you’re f—ing amazing!) Ruess encouraged the audience to sing as loud as possible, although that seemed unnecessary.

On the wave of its platinum song “We Are Young,” fun. only played a few songs from its album “Some Nights,” released in February, such as “All Alone” and “Carry On.”

The band proved it knew what it was doing before the grandiose radio-hit, as its set was dominated by songs such as “At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used To Be),” “The Gambler” and “All The Pretty Girls,” from its 2009 album, “Aim and Ignite.”

Ruess was beyond animated on stage, often running his hands almost aggressively through his hair, or throwing his tongue out of the side of his mouth. Those were two mannerisms he must’ve done a million times that I found strangely fascinating, not distracting. It’s his thing. When he was finally still, he often bent at the waist and leaned forward, waving and singing into the crowd.  

Ruess’ performance and vocals had a very theatrical feel, sometimes acting but always passionate.

While I would often equate fun.’s music to Queen, hearing Ruess’ voice live, especially when he effortlessly hit some higher or longer notes, it was even more reminiscent of Freddie Mercury. All are wild ways to describe a band produced by Jeff Bhasker, the same man behind hit albums from Kanye West and Jay-Z.

Some time after kneeling on stage and asking the crowd to sing along in their “inner voices,” Ruess shared that the bands’ parents had been touring with them all week and they are finally OK with swearing on stage. He then made the entire audience scream obscenities on his count. It was perhaps one of the most unique forms of crowd participation I’ve been a part of at a concert.

But that’s just it. It wasn’t just three guys and their band mates playing instruments on a stage to a bunch of people. It was three guys playing for a bunch of people, and partaking in the experience with them.

After an impressive cover of The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” the best part of the show came with the encore – but not for reasons you might expect.

Near the end of “Take Your Time,” Ruess attempted three times to finish the song after pausing and allowing the crowd to sing along and cheer. The crowd was so loud and their shouting endless that he literally could not begin his next line and stepped away from the microphone stand several times to laugh. He genuinely couldn’t find an opportunity to continue with the rest of the song.

“I have to finish the f—ing song! I still have dancing to do!” he said.

The crowd was alive, and they wanted more fun.

While the band’s name suggests it is and it wants its music to be fun, it also seems to portray that sense of feeling alive and living life to the fullest, which was proven in its lyrics. And Thursday wasn’t just “some night.” As its song “Barlights” encourages, the night with fun. made me “feel alive.”

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