Young Band Thrills Mercury LoungeSeptember 18th, 2009
fun. – Mercury Lounge – September 17, 2009
At times it’s easy to recognize when a New York City show will be good just by taking the audience’s temperature. And last night at Mercury Lounge a feverish buzz ran through the crowd while the opening bands played. Add to that the appearance of tri-state-area indie rockers like New Jersey’s Clark Westfield, of the Gay Blades, and Brooklyn’s Kevin Devine, and it was clear that the headliner, fun., was going to pull off something special.
To make the obvious pun about the group’s name is to do a disservice at this point. Fun. filled the venue with anticipation and passion-filled fans, an impressive feat for a band that’s just a year old. Their hour-long set bested their prior NYC appearances, and songs that fell flat in previous performances now had polish and life to them. Nate Ruess’s poppy Mick Jagger-like stage presence was captivating, while his bandmates executed amazingly tight music to accompany him. Although the crowd received the encore they’d screamed for, they were still disappointed when even that ended. And for once, the point in the evening where Ruess reached into his bag of Format songs became a footnote, not the highlight. —Sean O’Kane