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‘Fun’ plays a packed crowd in Lawrence

By Danielle Jurski
On October 26, 2010

About two weeks ago, most people were cheering for the Wildcats or the Hawks. Instead, I was cheering for power pop band Fun.

Fun, based in New York, is made up of members of the groups Steel Train and Anathallo as well as former lead singer of The Format, Nate Ruess. The group also has additional guitarists and a keyboardist in their touring lineup.

"We are Fun," Ruess exclaimed October 14 at the Bottleneck in Lawrence. Right away, it became clear why Ruess decided on this name for the group. It was clear they all just wanted to have fun.

As expected, crowd reaction was high for the singles "At Least I'm Not As Sad As I Use To Be" and "All The Pretty Girls." The same energy remained for songs like "Take Your Time," which is my personal favorite and was the highlight of their set.

In may, however, have been out-shined by opener Steel Train's song they recorded for the kid's show "Yo Gabba Gabba" which was totally strange and unexpected as they were trying to get the crowd to "get down like real kids." (Which included stomping your feet and flapping your nonexistent wings.)

I don't think most bands would've been able to get a crowd moving to a children's song, but it was something about lead singer Jack Antonoff (who is also the guitarist in Fun) that made Steel Train's set humorous and memorable.

I've seen them twice before, and while they aren't one of my favorite bands, they're definitely one of my favorite live sets.

Antonoff continued his charismatic energy when he came back on stage to play lead guitar for Fun.

Before ending Fun's set, Ruess talked about the crowd being a ‘wonderful mutt' of fans from Kansas, Mississippi and Missouri. The KU fight song was then sung by members of the crowd and a shout out was given to the band's sound technician and group member Andy for being former Jayhawks.

Emily Moore, guitar and keyboard player for the band, received a marriage proposal via a note from a fan from Indiana - which she smiled at and didn't acknowledge. (But props to the guy for throwing the note on stage and it landing right on her keyboard.) It's the effort that counts, right?

Ruess ended by saying that the band would be back in Kansas soon and again thanked the crowd for giving him the best job ever - being in a band with people he loves.

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