Naming your band fun. is one way to ensure rhetorical value, but the trio of Nate Ruess (The Format), Andrew Dost (Anathallo) and Jack Antonoff (Steel Train) don't really need it—they prove time and again that their combined power of pop-rock prowess speaks for itself. At their sold-out Bowery Ballroom show, and with a small army of backup musicians armed with keyboards, strings, and horns, the band is quickly moving their creations from amiable side project to full-on mainstream assault.
Paying tribute to (and expanding on) the theatrical whimsy that made 2008's Dog Problems such a success for Ruess and his perhaps more infamous band The Format (now defunct), fun. really packs on the pomp. Ruess has one of those voices that is both distinct and accurate; he's a vocal talent beyond simple pitch and rhythmic swagger. Ruess's unique timbre, mixed with the steely tenor of Antonoff, made for a truly colorful coating on an already bombastic instrumental array. The band seamlessly moved through tracks from their debut Aim and Ignite as well as new material from their forthcoming 2012 LP Some Nights. "Upbeat" doesn't even begin to describe it, as Ruess has been very transparent about his songwriting as a reflection of his own life, from the heartfelt authenticity of his movement to and from living in New York City, to naming the band as more than just a label, but a mission statement. It's supposed to be fun, and fun is the best way to describe these guys, no matter how you slice it.
Some Nights is due in early 2012 on Fueled By Ramen. Check out the first single, featuring guest vocals from R&B android Janelle Monae.
An acoustic version is sitting on their homepage. Also great.