Tuesday, July 17 , 2018, 9:07 pm | Fair 66º

 
 
 
 

Jeff Moehlis: Band fun. Lives Up to Its Name at Santa Barbara Bowl

Led by vocalist extraordinaire Nate Ruess, the group puts on a spirited show for the young and the young at heart

[Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery from the concert.]

Some nights we are all young, whether we are grade school kids seeing our first big concert, teenagers who can't get enough of pop music, parents who are chaperoning those kids, college students enjoying one of the last weekends before classes start or grown-ups who like to keep up with new music. Saturday was such a night, when fun. gave a spirited show at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

Indeed, fun. has a rare appeal to people of all ages, thanks to a sound that draws upon bands of yore (Queen in "Some Nights Intro," Simon & Garfunkel in "Some Nights" — think "Cecelia" not "Sound of Silence" — a touch of Styx in "Carry On," etc.) but with more modern production. Your cooler-than-thou friends might diss the band, but the catchiness of their hits is undeniable. And it's refreshing that their music and image aren't hyper-sexualized like that of many of the artists who grace the pop charts.

After a fine opening set in a return to town by Tegan and Sara, the tuxedo-clad members of fun. led off with the aforementioned "Some Nights Intro," the first track off their 2012 breakthrough album, Some Nights.

Then the tuxes came off and the band was off to the races, hitting most of the other tunes from that album and many from their debut, Aim and Ignite. Throughout the evening, they kept the crowd pumped up by enticing them to clap, sing and dance along to the music.

Vocalist extraordinaire Nate Ruess is clearly the star, with a voice that effortlessly soars wherever he wishes to take it. Ruess was joined by core band members Andrew Dost (guitar) and Jack Antonoff (keyboard, a bit of flugelhorn), plus touring musicians Emily Moore (several instruments), Nate Harold (bass guitar) and Will Noon (drums).

Although the crowd had been screaming its approval from the start, things really took off at the end of "Barlights," when white confetti floated down like snow onto the crowd in the pit.  This was followed by their hit anthem "Carry On," at the beginning of which Ruess smiled as he brushed off a bit of confetti stuck to his face.

Next came a bit of humorous between-song banter in which Ruess attempted to position himself so a video camera could show the inside of his nose. In a PG-13 departure from a mostly clean-fun evening (there were also several F-bombs scattered throughout the night), it was suggested that the camera pan down to Ruess' genitalia. The conversation then turned to Dost's taped-up hand, which he joked was from falling off a scooter because he was going too slow. When Ruess tried "a segue," Antonoff quickly chimed in that it was "not a Segway, it's a scooter."

Returning to music, the core members played "The Gambler" with Dost on acoustic guitar and Antonoff on piano. Then the rest of the musicians came back for the band's ubiquitous smash hit "We Are Young," with the crowd enthusiastically singing along. The main set closed with a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run," a song that was perhaps unknown to a chunk of the younger component of the audience and featuring bassist Harold on sax.

The encore led off with the hit "Some Nights," and while this is full of up-tempo energy, the most powerful part to me is always when it slows down and Ruess sings lovingly about his nephew. The show closed with "Stars."

Some nights the young and young at heart have a chance to have some fun. It was one of those nights at the Bowl.

Setlist

Some Nights Intro
One Foot
Walking the Dog
All Alone
Why Am I the One
At Least I'm Not as Sad (As I Used to Be)
All the Pretty Girls
It Gets Better
Barlights
Carry On
The Gambler
We Are Young
Born to Run (Bruce Springsteen cover)

Encore

Some Nights
Stars

— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his web site, music-illuminati.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >