Show Review: fun. at Bottom of the Hill, 3/29/2012

by Gordon Elgart on April 4, 2012

Sometimes when a band has a giant hit song, they cancel their long-ago-booked club gig to move into a bigger venue at a higher price. This has happened recently with Gotye, and it’s kind of a bummer for early adopters who were excited about seeing a beloved band in a small club. And other times, the band keeps those dates and plays a fantastic show to a small, ecstatic group of their biggest fans. This week, San Francisco won because the band with the current number one single in America, the ubiquitous “We Are Young,” played at both The Independent and Bottom of the Hill, and in doing so, proved that they are definitely not going to be one hit wonders. They’ll play the big rooms next time around.

The screaming started early due to the window behind the stage. As the band descended the staircase, the girls with the X’d out hands in the front went crazy. And then they kicked into “Some Nights” and its intro from the album of the same name, and the singing started. Singing from the band, and much louder singing from … well … everyone in the audience. I can’t remember hearing anything like this. And it just never stopped. It didn’t matter if it was from the band’s first album or from the new one, it was being sung loudly.

This is a band used to being in front of a crowd, and it showed. They’re polished and confident, yet know how to make the crowd feel like they are the most special people in the entire world. When the band shrunk down to their core threesome to sing the amazing “Be Calm,” a song I like to refer to as one of their “Oingo Boingo meets My Chemical Romance on Broadway” songs, the craziness went to an entirely new level.

A few songs later, they finally played their gigantic song, and the crowd reacted by being just as happy to hear this song as every other one. It just happened; there were no people standing in the back ignoring the show just waiting for the one song they knew, because everyone was fully engaged. It was wonderful to see just how well the song fit into the set; it was just another catchy pop song from band with a world of promise.

Yet this is no flash in the pan. This is a seasoned band, with vocals by Nate Ruess, formerly of the criminally underrated The Format, and then Jack Antonoff and Andrew Dost play just about everything else.  They write pop songs that appeal to both young and old, and they know how to make them sound great, both on record and live.

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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