fun., Of Monsters and Men, Churchill at the 1stBank Center, 12/14/12 (photos, review)By Ricardo Baca | December 14th, 2012 | 5 comments
As a critic, seeing the band for the first time. As a fan, who had only recently connected with its debut â€śSome Nightsâ€ť (released in February) in the last three or four months. As a lover of melodic music, who was psyched to hear singer Nate Ruessâ€™ voice in a live arena.
But as we walked out of the small suburban arena after a thoroughly energetic concert by Ruess and his bandmates, I had to admit it: â€śTheyâ€™re not a great band. Yet.â€ť
The fun. set on Thursday had all the moments it had to have. â€śSome Nightsâ€ť was nothing shy of fantastic, with its Queen-lite harmonies and its unbridled joy in storytelling. â€śWe Are Youngâ€ť transcended the fact that radio has completely played the song out. It didnâ€™t matter if youâ€™d heard the song so many times you wanted to slap the music directors who decided it was a good idea to play it once every two hours â€“ not on Thursday. When fun. let into the anthem, you sang along â€“ everyone did â€“ and the communal experience was potent and real.
But those are the singles. How else did they do?
The ballad â€śCarry Onâ€ť was a triumph, proof that Ruessâ€™ voice is the real deal â€“ crystalline and honest. â€śWhy Am I the Oneâ€ť worked similarly, with the entire crowd singing along with the familiar chorus.
The bandâ€™s hooks are built for arenas. That said, they still have some growing to do.
â€śAll the Pretty Girlsâ€ť isnâ€™t a great song, and the live take didnâ€™t help things at all. â€śIt Gets Betterâ€ť was a low point for the set, especially since the song doesnâ€™t meet the rest of the record stylistically. And sure, the record utilizes an obnoxious Auto-Tune every once in a while. But that doesnâ€™t mean Ruess can get away with that in the live show.
The band was good with banter, shouting out to its bass player who is â€śbasically from Colorado,â€ť according to Ruess, and calling out CU-Boulderâ€™s old rock bar Club 156. Ruess also thanked â€śthe radio station,â€ť a mildly funny, perfectly vague moment, given that it was Channel 93.3â€™s big holiday show â€“ and had he forgotten the name of â€śthe radio station.â€ť He could have turned around and looked at the giant banner behind him.
Ruess needs to bring out some new covers. A note-for-note take on the Counting Crowsâ€™ â€śA Long Decemberâ€ť lulled a mid-set spot, and a stilted take on the Rolling Stones’ â€śYou Canâ€™t Always Get What You Wantâ€ť followed â€śWe Are Youngâ€ť in the encore. Neither was great, but dare I say the Stones song worked better than the Adam Duritz-penned ballad.
Indie group Of Monsters and Men opened the show with an amiable if samey set from their breakout record â€śMy Head is an Animal.â€ť The fans were there for the horn-led â€śLittle Talks,â€ť which came late in the set, but a few other songs jumped from the stage, including â€śMountain Songâ€ť and â€śSix Weeks.â€ť