Concert Review: Fountains of Wayne with Ben Lee, Metro, July 17
I'm in love with "Stacy's Mom." The new Fountains of Wayne song opens with
sharp exclamation points of sound, practically lifted from the Cars' "Just
What I Needed." The new wave nod was appropriate given that the song, written
from a high school boy's point of view, harked back to an era when "Stacy"
was a popular name among teenage girls. And it could be about a subplot in
Valley Girl, although in the movie, it was Suzi, not Stacey, whose
mom was an object of adoration.
"Stacy's Mom" is the highlight of the new FOW album Welcome Interstate
Managers, but it was just one of a myriad of perfect pop songs in their
show at the Metro. Lead guitarist Jody Porter gives the songs just enough
muscle to prevent pop from being a dirty word, merely kids' stuff. (As for
my comments in my preview about FOW being unlike Lollapalooza white guy bands
in that they aren't using their guitars to assert their manhood, Porter was
approaching that line, which could be an issue for a guy named Jody. But
he was more than counterbalanced by lead singer Chris Collingswood, who looks
like he got beat up a lot in high school.) Their songs had the audience enthralled
because they were meant for singing along, with lots of catchy choruses and
For "Radiation Vibe," they went off onto a bunch of musical tangents, including
the Cars (and I thank them for validating my continued love of their skinny
tied tunes) and ZZ Top. When they branched to Boston's "More Than a Feeling"
and much of the audience started singing the lyrics, Collingswood chastised
them as losers for knowing the lyrics by heart.
As an epilogue to my comments on Ben Lee and Evan Dando, apparently Lee is
doing his best to save Dando from obscurity. He played a song he wrote that
appears on Dando's latest album. Lee was a giddily earnest performer, and
his covers ranged from Cheap Trick to Smiths.