January 27, 2015

Scrolling Headlines:

Panda Bear remains confident, even in the face of ‘The Grim Reaper’ -

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Why I want to be a teacher -

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams wrap up third-place finishes at Dartmouth Invitational -

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

UMass’ College of Education to train Pakistani higher education administrators -

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hao Luong shines for UMass men’s swimming and diving on Senior Day, prepares for end of college career -

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Police Log: Friday, Jan. 23, 2015 to Monday, Jan. 26, 2015 -

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Rachel Hilliard, Heather MacLean highlight solid performance from UMass women’s track and field -

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hockey East: Eichel’s overtime goal pushes Boston University past Vermont -

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Albums to look forward to in 2015 -

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

UMass closes ahead of inclement weather -

Monday, January 26, 2015

Paranormal Research Society seeks to uncover the truth about the supernatural -

Monday, January 26, 2015

UMass tops Merrimack 4-1 to cap off successful weekend series -

Monday, January 26, 2015

‘Broad City’s’ second season off to a wickedly funny start -

Monday, January 26, 2015

Writers respond to State of the Union address -

Monday, January 26, 2015

St. Bonaventure earns tight victory, VCU clinches 11th straight win in Atlantic 10 men’s basketball action -

Monday, January 26, 2015

An open letter to the people who were kind when I was struggling -

Monday, January 26, 2015

UMass club hockey salvages weekend with tie against NYU on Saturday -

Monday, January 26, 2015

2015 Winter TCA’s announce bevy of show returns and new releases -

Monday, January 26, 2015

Brilliant online film archives for cinema lovers -

Monday, January 26, 2015

UMass men’s and women’s track and field teams see mixed results in Joe Donahue Indoor Games -

Monday, January 26, 2015

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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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