ANN ARBOR, Mich. – It’s a rare, albeit special, occurrence when the passionate crooning of a band’s frontman is rivaled by the seemingly enamored sing along of his or her fans. For Nate Ruess of fun., this became a reality Thursday night in Ann Arbor.
Taking a break from opening for Jack’s Mannequin on the “Sing for Your Supper” Tour, the band played its infectious array of pop melodies to a sold out crowd of 400 people at esteemed college bar and concert venue, The Blind Pig.
Located near the University of Michigan, the band performed to a primarily college-aged crowd, who seemed keen to sing, hum or clap along to the band’s live rendition of all 10 songs from their debut album, Aim & Ignite. From the first notes of set opener “Walking the Dog”, it was clear that both the crowd and band were ready to push the band’s name to it’s most most literal sense. Even Jonathan Diener, drummer of Michigan founded band The Swellers, could be spotted miming Ruess’ words.
“This is awesome. This is our only headlining show on the whole tour,” Ruess said in an interview with idobi. “It’s pretty great, probably the best tour I’ve ever been on.”
Although guitarist Jack Antonoff had been touring with Steel Train, the sentiment showed as the band seemed tight and upbeat despite his absence. From the “na-na-na’s” of “All the Pretty Girls” to the “ooooh-ooooh’s” or “Barlights,” the band encouraged crowd participation to which the concertgoers seemed eager to oblige.
“I’m always excited to see them. Their energy and presence on stage gets better and better each time,” said fan Cristina DiCarlo.
The band was light and comfortable on stage, entertaining fans between songs with jokes about personal nightmares, insight into where in Michigan pianist Andrew Dost penned “Light a Roman Candle With Me,” as well as the constant expression of gratitude for the fans’ abundant appreciation.
“It’s been a crazy couple of years and I’m so thankful to be here with you guys,” Ruess addressed the audience during the band’s hour long performance.
After slowing things down with “The Gambler,” fans were surprised when the band launched into The Format’s “Dog Problems” midway through the set. While not a fun. original, fan participation remained at par with, if not more than, efforts earlier in the show. After two more songs, fun. graciously left the stage, but fans weren’t ready to let them go.
After chants of “one more song” had reached their peakt, the venue was drowned in screams and applause as Ruess began his entrance from side stage. The group brought the night seemingly full-circle, playing both their album’s opener and closer in “Be Calm” and “Take Your Time (Coming Home),” respectively. As the night came to a close, there could be no doubt that nearly everybody in attendance had thoroughly enjoyed their night.
“I love playing live with this band and I think that comes across more often than not,” Ruess told idobi. “I’m absolutely thrilled with where we’re at right now.”
Opening the night was the Lansing, Mich. rock group Cheap Girls. Attempting to prepare the crowd for the show ahead, the three-piece performed a variety of songs from both My Roaring 20’s and Find Me a Drink Home.