The Wisconsin Union Directorate at UW-Madison welcomed back students from winter break with "Some Night" at the Union on Jan. 24, 2013. Grammy-nominated fun. performed at Varsity Hall to a sold-out and raucous crowd, limited to UW-Madison students. Most of the fans were in time with vocalist Nate Ruess for the entire 90-minute set.
Setting 2012 ablaze with a Billboard #1 album while spawning a pair of #1 singles, fun. demonstrated their capabilities with an ongoing, sold-out headline tour that will culminate with an historic presence at the 2013 Grammy Awards. They are the first artists to garner nominations in the top four categories: "Song of the Year," "Record of the Year," "Album of the Year" and "Best New Artist" of the six nods they received.
Andrew McMahon, formerly of Jack's Mannequin, did a great job energizing the crowd as the supporting artist. With at late show time of 9:00 p.m., fans were eager to get their night started. McMahon took center stage and performed on piano with a backing band. Opening with "Wrecking Ball Heart" he led into a 45-minute set that included material from Jack's Mannequin. Highlights included "Dark Blue" and "La La Lie."
Energy was high when the lights dimmed a little after 10:15 and fun. trickled onto the stage. From the opening notes of "Out on the Town," the packed house were transfixed on fun. Whether it was a simple Nate Ruess hand gesture or a diddle on the keyboard from Andrew Dost, it was all met with a roar from crowd. The response of the roughly 1000 fans were on par with an arena show.
Continuing with "One Foot" and "All the Pretty Girls," the latter generated a strong response from the co-ed dominated audience. Ruess was all smiles and frequently joked with the students and even introduced them to guitarist Jack Antonoff's movie idea. This led into a brief diatribe, given by Antonoff, about his "Nutty Professor" meets "Dr. Doolittle" thoughts that brought smiles and laughter to both the band and crowd.
What Antonoff might have lacked in screenplay were easily compensated by his fretwork. He went into a notable shredfest following "It Gets Better" that led into Ruess hitting the opening verse of "Barlights" that was perfectly timed with Antonoff's closing licks. Musically and lyrically, fun. are at the top of their game. Somehow they manage to arrange a cacophony of sounds and fusion of musical styles into a delicate harmonic bliss.
As amazing as fun. were on stage, the fans were equally impressive. Enough to ensure that fun. will be back in Madison again. Indeed, it had only been a mere nine months since they performed a sold-out show at the Majestic Theatre last April. Their set ended with "All Alright" and fans closed out the entire last verse as Nate Ruess walked off the stage.
Where most shows feature a mini-intermission these days before the expected encore, the Union crowd brought the roof down with screams and chants for "one more song." The sound was deafening when the band returned. Dost toyed with the crowd, playing a few notes on the keys. The screams quickly turned to fans humming the opening melody to "Some Nights" before Ruess even returned. When he did appear, he was all smiles and gestured for the crowd to continue. They sang in unison and finished the evening with "Stars."
The show ended but there wasn't a sad face in sight. Fun. are a complete embodiment of their namesake. Having witnessed artists that range from country to metal perform a snippet of a fun. song while on tour this past year, their influence runs deep. The Grammy Awards have recognized their talent, it'll be a shock if they don't take home at least one award.
Out on the Town
All the Pretty Girls
Why Am I the One
At Least I'm Not as Sad (As I Used to Be)
It Gets Better
What the Fuck?
We Are Young