Concerts

Nate Ruess Has Some Fun. At Zia Records

While the GOP presidential candidates debated in Mesa last night, folks at Zia Records in Chandler gathered for a different kind of spectacle: NYC-based pop band Fun. (featuring Nate Ruess formerly of Tempe rockers The Format) played an acoustic set and signed autographs for about 400 fans.

The band isn't playing a proper show until Friday, June 1 at Mesa Arts Center (where said Repubs goofed on each other last night), so the in-store appearance marked the only chance fans had to catch the band without road-tripping to Tucson in March. The band's profile has never been higher: The gigantic sounding "We Are Young" (featuring Janelle Monae) was featured in the Chevy Sonic Super Bowl commercial, and subsequently became the most downloaded song on iTunes. The band released Some Nights on Tuesday, February 21.

The line wrapped around the record store, kids stretching to the loading dock of the neighboring Basha's. Fans sat on folding chairs, strumming acoustic guitars and singing a campfire version of the Format hit "Tune Out," while further down the line some fans had a stereo blasting selections from Fun's debut album. One couple even camped out over night (in case the band decided to show up a day early, I guess). People really love this band.

While his bandmates sound checked with versions of Billy Joel's "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant," Ruess took some time away from visiting with his parents and grandmother to chat about the band's recent appearance on Conan, the breakout success of "We Are Young," and trying to top the high score on the Megatouch Erotic Photo Hunt, before softly rocking the crowd with renditions of "At Least I'm Not as Sad as I Used to Be," "All the Pretty Girls," "We Are Young," and more.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.