Scrolling Headlines:

REPORT: UMass football’s Da’Sean Downey faces two assault charges in connection with February fight -

Thursday, August 27, 2015

UMass football Media Day: Catching up with Joe Colton -

Thursday, August 27, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Creating turnovers, forcing mistakes the focus for linebacking corps -

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Jurors hear police interview, read text messages by defendants in third UMass rape trial -

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

‘Living at UMass’ app aims to make move-in weekend a breeze -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass rape trial halts abruptly, opening statements delivered Tuesday -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Jamal Wilson returns from injury with confidence he is ‘main guy’ at running back -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Freshmen Sekai Lindsay, Andy Isabella impressing at running back -

Monday, August 24, 2015

UMass ranked in top 25 for LGBTQ students -

Monday, August 24, 2015

UMass football fall camp day five: Rodney Mills looks to continue bringing versatility to tight end position -

Friday, August 21, 2015

Route 9 Diner to reopen under new ownership -

Friday, August 21, 2015

Rising UMass sophomore dies unexpectedly -

Thursday, August 20, 2015

UMass football fall camp day four: Veteran offensive line boasts chemistry, looks to improve run blocking -

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A colorful UMass homecoming -

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Potential nighttime and weekend parking fee at UMass tabled -

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

UMass football fall camp day three: Ex-quarterbacks A.J. Doyle, Andrew Verboys continue transitions to new positions -

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

UMass football fall camp day two: Defensive secondary hopes experience, added depth brings greater consistency -

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

UMass football kicks off day one of fall camp Monday -

Monday, August 17, 2015

Cyr: The time to start talking football is back again -

Monday, August 17, 2015

UMass football adds series with USF, Maine to future schedules -

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Fountains of Wayne perform intimate fun show

Last Thursday, the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton played host to the first show of Fountains of Wayne’s upcoming three-week North American tour. With Northampton’s own School for the Dead opening the set, it was truly a great night for lovers of power-pop.

saaron83/ Flickr

School for the Dead, a Northampton-based pop-rock band, began the proceedings. Playing tight but playful songs with fantastic melodies and great hooks, they won over the audience fairly easily. Songs like “Photobooths” had a charming British Invasion, Beatles-esque influence, while the brilliantly titled “Jake and Kim Broke Up, Leave Me Out of It” had such cheeky lyrics that it was impossible not to enjoy.

The five-piece band could have easily played a longer set without making the crowd restless with anticipation, but ended their set after less than 35 minutes. Their unpretentious songs of love, school and awkward social situations fit the cozy and humble confines of the Iron Horse perfectly. For a rock show at such a small, intimate venue, the audience (which incidentally had probably the world’s highest concentration of men wearing berets per square foot) was unerringly polite and enthusiastic towards School for the Dead, contributing to the show’s great atmosphere.

At around 8:10 p.m., Fountains of Wayne took the stage and without hesitation launched into “A Dip in the Ocean,” off of their most recent album, “Sky Full of Holes,” released in July 2011. After a rollicking performance of “Mexican Wine,” off of the band’s 2003 album “Welcome Interstate Managers,” it became apparent that lead singer and guitarist Chris Collingwood’s gear was having numerous issues.

These technical problems would nag at the band for most of the first half of the show, leading for bassist Adam Schlesinger to joke at one point “we’re going to call this the Nothing Works Tour.”
During one particularly long break to fix equipment, Schlesinger conducted an impromptu “audience Q&A,” during which, at one crowd member’s request, the other three members of the band jammed a bit on the Knack’s classic power-pop hit “My Sharona.”

Despite these issues and some occasional signs of rust, such as when the band awkwardly fell apart during a passionate rendition of “Bright Future in Sales,” the atmosphere in the hall was always incredibly fun and light-hearted. The band invited two fans to accompany them on percussion for the acoustic “Hey Julie,” and dipped into a few deep, rarely-played cuts from their first, self-titled album.
Before one of these, “You Curse at Girls,” Schlesinger spoke of how the band would write down ridiculous titles to imaginary songs on napkins in West Village cafes. Then, they would attempt to write songs with these titles. Schlesinger joked that most of these titles were quite stupid, which Collingwood concurred with after they performed the song.

Once the band fixed all of their equipment problems, the show really kicked into high gear. The ballad “I-95” toyed with the heartstrings of the audience. “It Must Be Summer,” “Sink To the Bottom,” and “No Better Place” came one right after the other, giving the entire audience an incredible rush. After that brief but incredible increase in momentum, the band’s set came to a close.

The audience was hungry for more though, and after less than a minute, the band marched back on stage. Opening their encore with the beautiful ballad “Cemetery Guns,” the band kept the show’s incredible energy going. After a wonderful version of the acoustic “Troubled Times,” a highlight off of the band’s second album, “Utopia Parkway,” Collingwood and guitarist Jody Porter grabbed their electrics for two final songs.

The requisite performance of “Stacy’s Mom,” by far the band’s biggest hit, did not feel forced at all, and sent the already delighted crowd into spasms of ecstasy. Closing with a triumphant take on “Radiation Vibe,” the first song on the band’s first album, the band ended the show by coming full circle to the very beginning of their career.

Despite early technical problems and the occasional mistake, Fountains of Wayne played a spirited show that wonderfully showcased many of the highlights of their 15 year career. The hooks hit hard, the choruses were a blast and the band was having a ball. Delivering their catchy, well-written songs with an infectious energy, Fountains of Wayne put on a show for the ages.

 

Jackson Maxwell can be reached at jlmaxwell@umass.edu.

 

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