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If Freddie Mercury, Muse and the Scissor Sisters had a baby, that baby would be Fun. Their flamboyance, theatrical anthems and vocals, and that individual, almost odd ball quality sets Fun. apart from a lot of the other indie/pop-rock played on commercial radio. Although pretty unique in their own right, you could see and hear these influences bursting out of Fun.’s live performance at The Palace in Melbourne. Even if going in blindly without having had much exposure to their music, no one could have left unimpressed. This was quite a show.
On arriving at The Palace, the queue, consisting of mainly a young, eager teeny crowd, snaked around the corner, down a laneway and spilt onto the next street behind the venue. The night started with support act Pluto Jonze, who apparently had only been asked at 11am that same morning to fly from Sydney to Melbourne to open the show. The band played a tight and impressive set, whipping out every type of instrument you could imagine for each different song, including his Pièce de résistance the Theremin, owning it like Big Bang’s Sheldon. Pluto Jonze has had a heap of air time on triple j, and no doubt there are big things to come for them.
Fun. hopped on stage to a roaring crowd, mostly girls it’s safe to say, and opened with Out on the Town, an energetic start that put their fans in a slight frenzy and in dancing mode. They couldn’t be faulted on each song that they played. Their sound was clear and crisp, each instrument played with precision, and lead vocalist Nate Ruess gave every lyric his all. Everything about their show was big and theatrical, especially with booming percussion featuring so prominently in most of their songs.
The band played the whole of their album Some Nights, banging out one track straight after the other, peppered with the odd tune from Aim and Ignite, released in 2009. It has to be said that Nate Ruess has a decent set of pipes, reaching unbelievable pitches that could rival Freddie himself. Nate showed off this talent in the big finish during It Gets Better, one of the band’s more punk-esque tunes.
Radio favourite Carry On was pulled out mid-set, almost attaching itself to the previous track they played, leaving the crowd no time to rest their weary dancing legs. We Are Young, probably their most popular tune thanks to constant airplay, was fantastic to hear and witness live. It’s one of the band’s more theatrical tunes both musically (because of its anthem quality) and live, with Nate literally bouncing around the stage and jumping off the drum kit platform. The percussion played in this song was impressive, the acoustics in The Palace were just amazing, and you could hear the pounding climb through your feet and up into your stomach, it was so strong.
The boys worked the crowd well and interacted with their fans often, discussing the quirks of the Australian accent, which they called “beautiful”; the girls loved that. Nate and guitarist Jack shared with the punters a game they play since arriving on our shores called ‘Festival or First of All’, which said with the Australian accent sounds the same; the crowd making it apparent when the boys got the room to repeat each word. It seems it’s the light-hearted banter like this that make Fun. so likable as people and appreciated among their fan base.
Fun. played for a solid hour-and-a-quarter before disappearing into darkness, soon enough returning to the stage for an encore, with the crowd stamping their feet and piercingly screaming for more. It was in the encore that they revved the crowd up with title track Some Nights. Fun. nailed it, the crowd at this point dancing so wildly that you had to watch that random limbs didn’t smash you in the face. The band even surprised by covering The Rolling Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want.
Several times throughout the show frontman Nate would stop singing mid-song and simply watch the crowd singing his lyrics, drinking it all in with a big smile on his face. You can tell that Fun. are a band who actually love what they do and appreciate the love of their fans, and it was refreshing to see a band really having fun and enjoying themselves instead of tolerating another gig on a long tour, as is seen with many others. Fame can be a mercury-like, fickle thing, and it’s apparent that Fun. is well aware of this and so are basking in their success, which, hopefully, if they keep making fans as happy as they did in Melbourne Tuesday night, won’t be short lived.