Fountains of Wayne’s free mini-show at NYC’s Apple Store Soho last Friday was billed as an “acoustic set,” but that didn’t stop three out of the band’s four members from plugging in their amps. “This is what we call playing acoustic: We have one acoustic instrument,” bassist/songwriter Adam Schlesinger deadpanned with a gesture toward lead singer/songwriter Chris Collingwood’s guitar.
Oh well. It was a great show anyway. True to the acoustic spirit, at least, the setlist leaned heavily on Fountains’ softer material — no “Stacy’s Mom” power chords to be heard. Transitioning from the Nashville twang of “Fire in the Canyon” to the sublime Beatle-isms of “Yolanda Hayes,” from the heartbroken “Hackensack” to the irrepressible “Red Dragon Tattoo,” the band took us on a quick shuffle through their catalog’s strummier moments, plus a healthy helping of Schlesinger and Collingwood’s between-tune bons mots.
Another band might have felt uncomfortable playing in such an obviously branded space, but Fountains didn’t seem to mind; in fact, the Apple trademarks peeking out from every inch of the venue made an apt backdrop for their songs’ constellation of consumer-culture references. Others have criticized the Apple Store for its “antiseptic” feel, but on Friday night that felt just right — as if all 150 of us in the audience had crowded into the world’s biggest iPod to hear a very special playlist.
addCredit(“Fountains of Wayne: Audrey Levy”)