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'Twas some night with fun. at Myth - Minneapolis Star Tribune

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'Twas some night with fun. at Myth - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Apr 14th 2012, 17:26

Repeatedly telling the sold-out crowd it was the biggest show on their tour, Nate Ruess and his No. 1 band fun. treated Myth nightclub in Maplewood like Wembley Stadium on Friday night. The fans, in turn, treated the Queen-mimicking pop-rockers like kings.

"This place has been circled on our calendar for months," the boyish and addictively earnest singer said early in the group's sometimes gawky but mostly giddy 80-minute performance.

Presumably, Ruess meant the Twin Cities on the whole. Myth and Maplewood only entered the picture a week and a half before the concert.

Like all of the New York trio's current tour, the gig was originally booked at the Varsity Theater when fun. was still a small-time band. Then its anthemic hit "We Are Young" broke big -- good luck getting it out of your head now that you've read the title -- and the show got moved to the Brick. Then the Brick's stated capacity proved to be a myth. As Ruess noted, "It took a couple venues, but we made it."

He and his bandmates -- including two extra touring musicians -- were ready for the bigger crowd, however unexpected both the local venue change and their international mega-hit were.

Starting with the sleek opener "One Foot," with its hip-hop-like explosive energy and operatic-pop chorus, the group maintained a rock-show energy with a Broadway-show, sing-songy attitude. The 3,000 fans lit up loudly with each of the band's giant choruses, including "All the Pretty Girls" and several mores songs off fun.'s industry-overlooked 2009 debut album. The concert wasn't just about the hit, in other words.

Still No. 1 in Billboard after six weeks, "We Are Young" was nonetheless greeted like candy at a kindergarten when it arrived two songs before the encore. Ruess, 30, looked every bit the glee-club member -- a real-life, somewhat geeky glee kid, not the prettier ones on TV -- as he led the song's pep-rallying charge.

The singer came off more "American Idol"-like, though, in both the super-sentimental ballad "Carry On" and the set-ending cover song, the Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want," the latter of which actually resulted in one of the weaker singalongs in the show (dinosaur-rock to many of the fans). The night's second-strongest reception came in the first encore for the boisterous follow-up single "Some Nights," solid proof these guys probably won't be one-hit wonders.

Friday's concert was the first of four sold-out Brick gigs moved to the formerly-mothballed Myth pending the new Minneapolis club's reboot. Although far from centrally located, the Maplewood facility does serve a good middle-ground between smaller clubs and arenas, and its acoustics and layout remain far superior to the alternatives: a musty Roy Wilkins Auditorium or an overcrowded Brick. Yeah, no fun.

See fun.'s set list at startribune.com/artcetera

Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658 • Twitter: @ChrisRstrib

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