The Format Reunites! See Their 2020 Tour Dates: Exclusive

The Format
Jim Newberry

The Format

First active between 2002 and 2008, the Arizona band features Sam Means and Fun. singer Nate Ruess.

One of the most sneakily influential indie pop bands of the 21st century is giving it another go.

After playing a surprise show last night (Feb. 3) in their native Arizona -- their first gig since 2007 -- the Format has announced a five-date tour starting March 20 in New York.

While the Format might not ring a bell for some, pop fans are most certainly well-acquainted with its frontman, Nate Ruess. After co-writing two masterful, cult-famous albums with multi-instrumentalist Sam Means, Ruess joined up with Jack Antonoff and Andrew Dost to form Fun., whose 2012 album Some Nights produced three top-20 hits, including the Hot 100 No. 1 "We Are Young." Since Fun. went inactive in early 2015, both Ruess and Means released solo albums, leaving Format fans to wonder if the old band was any closer to a reunion.

The first hint came on Jan. 21, when the Format returned to its long-dormant Twitter account to promote a new line of merchandise and a Feb. 3 screening of its 2007 concert film Live At the Mayan Theatre, which just became available on streaming services for the first time. It turned out the Phoenix screening -- held at the headquarters of Means' indie merch company, Hello Merch -- wasn't just a viewing party, but the first Format show in 13 years.

Kyle Dehn
Nate Ruess and Sam Means (L to R) of the Format performing last night Feb. 3 in Phoenix, Arizona at the headquarters of the merch company Hello Merch. 

The Format will be back in Arizona for an April 3 show at The Van Buren, but before that they'll play a pair of shows at New York's Bowery Ballroom and Chicago's Lincoln Hall in March. A ticket pre-sale kicks off tomorrow (Feb. 5) via the Format's official merch site at 12 p.m. local time (using the code: FORMAT). After that, tickets will go on sale in full Friday (Feb. 7) at 12 p.m. local time at each venue's official site. Find the full itinerary below:

The band hasn't commented on the prospect of new music, but if you need an introduction (or quick refresher) to the Format's catalog, check out this pair of highlights from each of their two full lengths. First, the jangly, alt-country-inflected Interventions + Lullabies, which came out on Elektra in 2003:

And the band's self-released 2006 Pet Sounds-obsessed opus Dog Problems, which went on to be something of a jumping-off point for Fun.'s bombastic pop: