Fun. performing at Los Angeles' The Wiltern. (Photo: Nicole Pajer)
Between the confetti, balloon drop, celebs in attendance -- including Alia Shawkat from "Arrested Development," Mae Whitman of "Parenthood" and singer/songwriter Landon Pigg -- and audience participation, Fun. lived up to their name last weekend at The Wiltern in Los Angeles. We caught the first night of a three-day, sold-out run.
After a quick opening set from hip-hop duo Chiddy Bang, Fun. took the stage, opening with "Carry On," "One Foot," and "All The Pretty Girls" from their breakthrough album Some Nights. Frontman Nate Ruess shed his suit jacket to parade across the stage in song, Andrew Dost bounced between a piano, trumpet, and keyboards, while Jack Antonoff manned the guitar. A bassist, drummer, and female vocalist/keyboardist backed the trio. Following "Why Am I," Ruess faced the crowd and exclaimed, "This is one of the coolest f---ing nights of my life!" He proudly held onto a bouquet of flowers that he received from an audience member while singing "The Gambler," which he dedicated to Antonoff's parents that were in attendance.
The band instructed the crowd to clap a long to "We Are Young" as a shower of confetti fell over the audience. The show ended with balloons trickling from the sky as Fun. delivered an encore rendition of "Some Nights."
fun.'s Nate Ruess on stage. (Photo: Nicole Pajer)
Prior to the show, we popped backstage to catch up with the guys, who were goofing around with their front-of-house engineer, Gordon Reddy. Ruess, Antonoff, and Dost were buzzing about the fact that they recently received word that their single "Some Nights" just passed 1 million in sales. Ruess told Billboard.biz that the band is still in awe over their success. "It's exciting for us because we've been the bridesmaids for a really long time, so it feels good!"
"Everything that's happened over the last year has been such a wonderful surprise," Dost added. "It feels almost like what you dream of when you're a kid and first pick up a guitar or grab hairbrush and sing in the mirror. The things that have happened to us seem unreal, like dreams that weren't even really in us anymore. We had never thought that was how life would go."
fun. goofing around with FOH sound engineer Gordon Reddy (center) - fun. (Left - Jack Antonoff, front - Nate Ruess, Right - Andrew Dost). (Photo: Nicole Pajer)
While he admits that fun. has had some conversations about their next album, Antonoff says they are trying to keep the current focus on Some Nights.
"We feel like we need to keep our heads in the album because it would be like cheating on our fans if we thought too far ahead. It seems like we're just as in the moment as the fans are, which is a special thing if you think about it."
"With Some Nights, we didn't have too many premeditated ideas. We had some had sketches of most of the songs but we didn't demo obsessively. We didn't crush those moments of inspiration; we let them happen in the studio when we could put them to tape. Our big hope and goal for the new album is to capture those same moments of magic. We don't know how exactly it's going to sound, we just know that we want that feeling to be there," said Dost.
(L-R): Caroline Ellis (executive assistant, Fueled By Ramen); Katie Robinson (senior director of marketing, Fueled By Ramen / Elektra); Adam Samiljan (senior director of digital marketing, Fueled By Ramen); Joe Calitri (general manager, Fueled By Ramen); Brad Rains (senior director of brand partnerships/commercial licensing, Atlantic Records). (Photo: Nicole Pajer)
As far as projects they'd like to get into, Dost says he wants to eventually pursue film scoring, Antonoff mentioned a punk side project, while Ruess has a different agenda. "I want an apartment and I want the ability to furnish it," he joked.
Spotted in the audience during the show were Glenn Fukushima (VP of publicity) and Aaron Bay (SVP of A&R) from the Atlantic Records camp. A crew of Fueled By Ramen folks flew in from New York to attend the Fun. show as well, arriving earlier in the week to catch Paramore's sold=-out gig at the Fox Theatre in Pomona.
fun.'s Dost and Antonoff. (Photo: Nicole Pajer)
Caroline Ellis (executive assistant, Fueled By Ramen), Katie Robinson (senior director of marketing, Fueled By Ramen/ Elektra), Adam Samiljan (senior director of digital marketing, Fueled By Ramen), Joe Calitri (GM, Fueled By Ramen), and Brad Rains (senior director of brand partnerships/commercial licensing, Atlantic Records) mentioned a few upcoming releases on the horizon: Twenty One Pilots just finished up an album with Greg Wells which will be out early next year. VersaEmerge is releasing an album in October and A Rocket To The Moon in January. They also noted that Paramore is in the studio with Justin Meldal-Johnsen ( Beck, Nine Inch Nails) and that the record should be on the way in early 2013. There was also talk of Rome (from Sublime with Rome) currently working on his first solo effort as well. (No one, however, wanted to talk about Fueled by Ramen founder John Janick's recent departure for Interscope.)
Samiljan said, "It's amazing to see how far these guys have come." Rains chimed in, "The band works incredibly hard, they tour constantly and really care about their music and their fans."