| December 8, 2010

Shuffling through their arsenal of retro tunes, Sargent House favorites The Postelles kicked off the night with a high energy set that captivated an early crowd. The quartet’s ability to infuse Motown with garage-rock in a live setting is a testament to the young outfit’s overall ability and enormous potential. Looking forward to catching a headlining show in 2011.

The last time I saw the next act, Steel Train, was coincidentally during their tour as an opener for the Format, right before the release of their second full-length, Trampoline.  The band was still transitioning from their jam-band days on Drive Thru to the pop-rock of their recent buzzworthy self-titled release.  Last week’s show was a test to see whether the band could truly embrace this new persona.  Steel Train’s set was ultimately a success, although not without its hitches.  Right at the onset, the Jersey five-piece powered through three of their more popular songs — “Bullet”, “Turnpike Ghost”, and “I Feel Weird” — which were great but suffered from some bad sound work.  These problems, however, were fixed, and at just the right moment — Steel Train blasted into “It’s Fun To Dance”, a short little ditty the guys recorded for Yo Gabba Gabba!  If that doesn’t scream “crowd pleaser” then I don’t know what does.  The rest of the set was great, and although there were some songs left unplayed that I would’ve loved to hear, the band played enough of the good ones off their last two albums to keep me happy.  It’s also worth commending frontman Jack Antonoff’s attitude throughout the entire set.  The man jumped around like a ten-year old on a strict diet of jellybeans and root beer, excited out of his mind.  He and the rest of the guys were happy to be there, and that definitely rubbed off on everybody in the room.

And then came fun. I’ve professed my love for the Format a good number of times here on ATG and though it was heartbreaking to see them go, Nate Reuss and fun. have done a superb job of keeping the late group’s inimitable brand of indie pop alive with their debut album, Aim & Ignite.  Reuss, along with the aforementioned Antonoff, former Anathallo drummer Andrew Dost, and the rest of the fun. crew played through everything fans wanted to hear, including an expected but much appreciated performance of the Format’s “Dog Problems”.  Reuss has got to be one of the better frontmen I’ve encountered.  You could tell the guy was sweeping the crowd off his feet with his between-song banter and a singing voice that is astonishingly identical to what appears on the band’s recorded material.  Case in point: the three textbook “bros” standing in front of me the entire show, singing along to every word and professing their love for the man at every moment of silence like a tween at a Justin Bieber show — very weird, but a testament to the band’s appeal.  Although I may not have been screaming like a little girl, fun. could not have done a better job.

MP3: fun. – Benson Hedges
MP3: Steel Train – Bullet
MP3: The Postelles – White Night

Many thanks to the lovely Tara K. for taking photos for us that night.  Check them out after the jump.