NATE RUESS, Wilton’s Music Hall – Evening Standard, 11 June 2015

The various members of Fun all had careers in music before they came together to make one of the biggest albums of 2012, so it doesn’t seem that surprising that they should part again for the next phase. They haven’t formally split, they say, but few tears will be shed this summer, when fans can wallow in both guitarist Jack Antonoff’s power pop in Bleachers, and singer Nate Ruess continuing to make gloriously over-the-top anthems as a solo act.
The only real difference is that these arena pop songs, as melodic as it’s possible to be without being tested for performance enhancing drugs, can now be experienced in tiny venues. Atmospheric Wilton’s, with its fairy lights and crumbling brickwork, was an odd place to see a seven-strong band blasting out juggernaut choruses.
“I’m your old friend Nate Ruess,” said the frontman in gentle greeting. During the songs he was aflame with energy. Solo careers after big successes are invariably indulgent, but anyone who includes both Prince’s Let’s Go Crazy and Bruce Springsteen’s Thunder Road in the setlist is out for nothing but crowd pleasing.
The new album, out on Monday, is called Grand Romantic and is inspired by Ruess’s relationship with Mark Ronson’s younger sister Charlotte. Songs such as Nothing Without Love and You Light My Fire were appropriately joyous – fizzy bubblegum pop calculated for instant singalongs. His high, straining voice made him seem like he was giving his all even in the ballads.
The inclusion of the big Fun songs, We Are Young and Some Nights, plus his Pink duet Just Give Me a Reason, reminded people why he was huge. The new material made the room swell 20 times bigger and argued convincingly that he can be huge again.