Power-pop rockers Fountains of Wayne may be headlining this year's Hoboken Arts and Music Festival, but the local Grammy-nominated foursome played a packed house at Maxwell's on Saturday night. Everyone from young teens and their parents to the couple who wanted to relive their young concert-going days gone-by crammed into Maxwell's ready to party with their favorite local band.
Before the night's stars went on, the New York-based band the Candles started things off. While the crowd didn't know what to expect from the quintet led by Josh Lattanzi, they were feeling the Candles after a couple of songs as their flawless harmonies mixed with a soft rock-like sound.
"We just had a CD come out two weeks ago," bassist Jason Roberts announced. He provided most of the banter between songs. "You can get it in the back along with T-shirts. The T-shirt looks good while you listen to the CD."
The Candles began with a slow pace and progressively livened up as the set continued. "Here Or Gone" felt like the perfect song you could play on your way to the beach. And "Let Me Down Easy" seems like a sad tune from the title, but its easygoing nature makes you forget that it borders onto breakup song territory. The band also covered "Back to the Lake" by Ohio indie rock band Guided by Voices.
What many don't know about Lattanzi is that he and FoW bassist Adam Schlesinger were in supergroup Tinted Windows, which also featured Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, Taylor Hanson of Hanson and Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick. The reunion at Saturday night's show made for a great evening of music.
While Lattanzi was pretty soft-spoken for most of the band's set, he did give Hoboken its props. "I wish I were from here because this town is beautiful."
Since it was the weekend, FoW had no qualms about making it a late night and started their set at 11 p.m. And like the pros they are, the quartet kicked off their set with "Flair" followed by "No Better Place" with an energy that stimulated their fans even more. Since people could watch the band play on Sunday for free, it was amazing to see just how dedicated FoW fans were.
"Sorry to break it to you guys," Schlesinger said. "But we get to play for free tomorrow. But you guys are the awesome ones that paid to get in here."
Schlesinger also informed everyone that the band was still in the midst of working on the follow-up to their 2007 record, "Traffic and Weather." The FoW bassist explained that it's like Guns N' Roses' 2008 album "Chinese Democracy" since it's taking so long. "There's an album we've been working on that's turning into our 'Chinese Democracy,'" he said. "Maybe we'll call it 'Chinese Delivery.'"
Aside from playing classics like "I-95"—a song they required a band pow wow because some of them forgot how it went—and "Hackensack," the band premiered new material including "Summer Place," which could possibly become every FoW fan's new summer track.
The band surprised everyone when Schlesinger called up four crowd members onstage to play tambourines during "Hey Julie" as the rest of the fans sang along at the top of their lungs. It was clearly a crowd favorite.
FoW also performed "Denise," Maureen" and a new song called "Barbara H," which surely made any female who carried any of those names feel like one special lady.
Although lead singer Chris Collingwood seemed to kill his pipes on "Maureen," he didn't disappoint and plugged along throughout the set and even had enough energy to play the band's encore. He did, however, ask for some crowd participation toward the end of the show since it seemed his voice was just not as strong as it was earlier.
The band's encore was energy packed and got the crowd jumping. WHile the band played "It Must Be Summer," "Leave the Biker" "Stacy's Mom" and "I Want to Sink to the Bottom With You," the crowd along with every word to each song.
A hyped and overly excited Jill Matthews even pummeled her way through the audience to the front and bowed "we're not worthy" style in front of guitarist Jody Porter.
"Fountains of Wayne writes the best songs that ever were," said Matthews, who's from Bloomfield, N.J. "I'm not even into their whole genre of music, but they're great songwriters. And that's why I keep coming back [to their shows.]"
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