Let's get this out of the way right off the bat: Fun. are incredibly fun in concert.
There's something a little morose and deliciously bratty about the trio's breakout album Some Nights (Fueled by Ramen). But live, the extended group - which add three multi-instrumentalists/vocalists - conjure up a manic reverie. Balloons and confetti cascade from the ceiling. And a particular cover tune, the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (which lead singer Nate Ruess absolutely nailed), summed up Fun.'s live versus recorded attitude: "You can't always get what you want ... but sometimes you get what you need."
Radio needed a band like these effervescent New Yorkers: the splashiness of Queen, hip-hop bravado and a sumptuous alterna-rock self-effacing undertone. Youth is king under Fun.'s reign, but as humbled, gloriously imperfect ruler. They lead a nation of the distraught and the listless, but at least they march together, chanting, "Carry On," as one of their anthems suggest.
Their palace - a three-night stand at the Wiltern in Los Angeles - shook tremendously as fans tried to ape Ruess' impressive vocal slaloms. The songs belong as much to the listeners as they do to the 30-year-old front man now, soaring mantras of finding oneself in a big city.
Fun. didn't follow the normal path to rock dominance, and perhaps that's why they're so successful. Some Nights tossed in ferocious beats more acclimated to the rap genre, but the marriage worked. So much so that it didn't seem too far-fetched that Chiddy Bang were the openers. This Philly duo are monster mashers in their own right, mixing hits from MGMT, Passion Pit and others into their hip-hop flow. A live drummer kept the beat. And their Chidera Anamege pulled a legit feat when the audience spouted random words, and he compiled them into a freestyle about apples, lobsters, the birthday of a girl named Mary and college.
Video courtesy JasmineReynosoMusic
An absolutely uplifting gig. Fun. had two more nights of performances at the Wiltern, but Ruess assured Friday's crowd that "the first cut is the deepest." A bleedin' good time indeed.