Sunday, October 09, 2011

I saw Fountains of Wayne the other night

Growing up, my favorite band by far was Rush. Then it was Boston. I was lucky enough to see both of those bands in concert (though with Boston, it was way late in their career). As I got older, college age, I developed more mature (yeah, right) tastes, branching off into, er, chick rock, mainly with Juliana Hatfield and Aimee Mann, both of whom I’ve also seen in concert.

After my college days, I just played in bands and didn’t listen to much new music. And then I really got into power pop bands as I am in power pop bands. Stuff like Weezer, Oasis, and, most recently Fountains of Wayne, none of which I had seen live.

Until Friday.

Fountains of Wayne released a new record earlier this year entitled Sky Full of Holes. I wrote about it here.

When I found out they were coming to town, I was pretty excited. My friend David was kind enough to spring for tickets, so all I had to do was wait.

Anyway, Friday rolled around and it was off to the Croc for the show. Curiously, it was an older crowd at the Croc. Not a lot of youngsters there. I’d say that the average age of the club-goers was probably 35 or so.

I got there a little early so I had to wait through the opening act of Mike Viola, who was an excellent guitarist and singer. Sort of like FoW light, as all his songs were catchy and told stories. All in all, a good fit for the night.

FoW finally took the stage and they started with Little Red Light from the excellent Welcome Interstate Managers record. It sorely missed the keyboard line present on the recording though as they only brought the four band members.

And I think that was why I felt pretty underwhelmed by the band for the night.

FoW is an ultra-slick and polished band in the studio. They are tight and everything sounds incredible. They have horns (listen to Mexican Wine for example), keys, more guitars, percussion, and chances to make everything sound right.

Live? Well, as much as I enjoyed the music, the live performance left me wanting more. It seemed that Jody Porter, on lead guitar, didn’t want to be in Seattle at all. He basically wanked his way through some solos and played just adequate guitar.

The other guys did well enough and I guess that was cool. Then they tried a little cover song medley in the middle of one of their older songs, including riffs from Burning for You (BOC), Carry On Wayward Son (Kansas), Do You Feel (Frampton), among others, and the wheels kind of fell off.
I don’t know. Maybe they had a bad night? I just felt a little unfulfilled. It certainly wasn’t like when I saw Muse for the first time, or Rush at the White River after their 5 year hiatus.

Ah well. I’ll still watch them on Leno this Wednesday and listen to their CDs religiously. And maybe I’ll catch them if they ever come back to Seattle.