The Magazine

July 24, 2013

FUN. w/Tegan and Sara [Review]

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Written by: Ross Huff
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fun. photo by Bruno Postigo

Bruno started putting his camera together while we were still miles from the venue. I thought he wanted to get a shot of the Maserati that blew past us on I-75. “We’re not going to catch up to it,” in my hatchback. When we pulled in I was ready to cough up $10 to park, but he said, “Never mind that, we don’t pay.” We are journalists. He waggled his bazooka of a camera at the lady and said, “Press,” and she sent us around to VIP. Each yellow vest on the way needed to know where we were going and why. “Press.” Follow the yellow signs…

Now parked at the VIP gate with the tour buses, semi trucks, and yuppies tailgating in SUV’s with red wine in real glasses, we were all the way across from the main gate and our press passes. A man radioed for a golf cart who took us to will call. Free golf cart rides are what it’s all about. Having a wide angle lens facilitates this. There was a moment after we’d gotten off the golf cart that we were inside the venue. We could have pulled off the elaborate entry scam with a camera and notebook. At will call, Bruno got a photo-pass, the cloth sticker with the date sharpied on it. I got an actual ticket for row P. That’s the 16th row. There aren’t many bands that I like enough to actually pay to sit in row P, but they’ll send me in for free to write about bands I’m not invested in. They weren’t going to let me in with my canteen, though. I asked if I could set it with the collection of aerosol bug spray and other contraband and pick it up after. “You can leave it here but I can’t take responsibility for it.” I realized he wasn’t looking at me, stuffed the canteen back in my daypack, and we were in. Bruno was intercepted by a PR representative with a laminate and clipboard, and told to wait there to be escorted to the photo pit. I went to my seat. Teagan and Sarah were fine. It was loud and there were strobe lights. All the songs stopped on a dime, no rock n roll endings. They’re kinda cute.

Here is my position: FUN. has won a Grammy for a hit single. Their songs are going to have to succeed or fail on their own strength rather than on my entrainment to them. I hope this isn’t a thing where they jump around instead of playing instruments. Looks like there are some confetti cannons. I love confetti cannons. I’m only human. It’s hard to feel like one in this stockade, though. There are too many rules to really get loose. No water bottles. Gotta pour the beers into big plastic cups. Gotta show your ticket every time you go to your seat, show your ID to get your beer. No bug spray allowed. It’s madness.

Photos by Bruno Postigo

However, I was glad I stayed. There was one moment with everyone singing that gave me the goose bumps. At another point the lead singer talked at length about pianist/flugelhornist Andrew Dost’s Michigan roots, dropping all sorts of unnecessary F bombs about fuckin’ Detroit. At any rate, the piano player’s whole family was there, and I’m sure they were proud. The question is, how do you want to have fun? Do you want to feel gory, sentimental, dumb, heartbroken? If you like big LED screens & sing alongs, this is your band. Pop is still basically just show tunes. People of all descriptions can relate. Lads, lasses, foreigners, dads, moms, teenagers.

This is exactly the kind of place I don’t like to go: hot, bright, and crowded, and I still had a pretty good time. The first song had pre-programmed horns, which was wack. The actual horns weren’t in the mix. To my relief, later in the set the flugelhorn sounded nice, including the french horn passage from “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” They didn’t do the gospel choir build up at the end, though — which as far as I’m concerned is the whole point of the song.
There’s nothing wrong with pop music. There’s probably something wrong with me. “Tonight we are young, so let’s set the world on fire.” We all feel like that; these guys had the balls to put it to a melody. Husbands and wives falling in love, people wasting money on glow-sticks, old hippies, fraternity brothers, mall shoppers, under-21s, grown-ass adults — they were all singing choruses of oh-ooh and na-na-na. Ten thousand people singing will always be okay.

Meadow Brook killed the PA at exactly 11PM, so for the last chorus of the encore, Nate Ruess conducted the sing-along. You could barely hear Jack Antonoff ’s electric guitar through the amp.

Conclusion: I’m happy for FUN., they’re doing the job for many people who need it.

About the Author

Ross Huff
Ross Huff
Ross Huff is a trumpet player from Ann Arbor. His hobbies include swimming, kite flying and listening to baseball on the radio. Given his list of dead & drunken literary influences, it's probably best that his first language is music. Napoleon said that an army marches on it's stomach; Huff is satisfied that although rock n roll bands do the same, they're not supposed to kill anyone.

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