Fun.’s showmanship, enthusiasm ignite Detroit crowd

Fun. played for a sold out venue Jan. 26 at the Fillmore Detroit. The band is currently touring internationally and will play at the 55th annual Grammy Awards, in which they hold six nominations.
(Mackenzie Potter | GCmag)

Nate Reuss messed and ruffled his James Dean-esque hair incessantly and took a rehearsed pause towards the end of a hit song. He smiled and folded over as he looked at the Fillmore Detroit crowd of over 2,000 people. The concert was sold out.

Orchestrated by lead singer Reuss, the audience clapped in unison and were silenced by the swift motion of his hand and the slam of the drum’s bass kick. The stage lights fell as arms and yells rose from the sea of fans. That was the end of “Carry On” and this was fun.

Fans purchased tickets for an average of $36, a fraction of which was contributed to The Ally Coalition, an organization taking action toward LGBTQ equality. The group striving for gay rights was founded by fun. and Rachel Antonoff, designer sister to band member Jack Antonoff.

With anticipation building, the guitar note held and the audience roared; they all realized what moments like these mean to the band. They are currently nominated for six Grammy awards for work on their latest release, “Some Nights.”

Fun.’s warm-up was an indie six-piece performance by former Jack’s Mannequin member,  Andrew McMahon before a painful half hour intermission.  However, the  crowd’s enthusiasm returned with full force thanks to the alternative pop-rock band’s passion. With stage antics mirroring those of rock n’ roll greats like Mick Jagger, Reuss shined in fun.’s performance.

“Oh, B.T.W., we’re fun.,” Reuss laughed before the band kick-started a new song.

Guitarist Antonoff was also exceptional with guitar solos ranging from catchy pop riffs to bleeding bluesy pieces oozing from the neck of his Gibson. Antonoff also joined an accompanying drummer for hard jungle-like beats of “Some Nights.” With four drumsticks hammering the set, it ignited the crowd once more.

Detroit native, Andrew Dost sat before a piano and two separate keyboards and made full use of them. His dancing fingers were given a break for trumpet parts in a few songs like “All the Pretty Girls” and “Barlights.” The band paused their set, recognizing the concert was a hometown show for Dost as Reuss joked how insistent the musician is to maintain a Detroit based residence.

The three-piece band had help on stage accompanied by drums, more keyboards, acoustic guitar and bass guitar. With a set list of 14, the band played 10 songs from their sophomore release and four from 2007’s “Aim and Ignite.”

One of the most impressive songs of the night came with “We Are Young.” Glowing yellow light washed fans, smoke clouds rose as a sweet and sour smell creeped through the crowd. Adorned in thick-rimmed glasses, slacks and cardigans, music lovers danced. A hundred smart phones gently waved a lighter app to the mega-hit.

The band closed with an encore of “Stars” after a wardrobe change. Antonoff, Dost and Reuss returned in Detroit Pistons jerseys customized with “fun.” printed on the back.

“We love you, Detroit!” Reuss yelled before parting.

The house lights rose and the crowd calmly filed out. No one screamed for an encore but it seemed clear the audience couldn’t have asked for more.

Photos by Mackenzie Potter