Fountains Of Wayne
"No Better Place – Live in Chicago"

(Shout! Factory 2009)Fountains Of Wayne - No Better Place – Live in Chicago

For full disclosure, I feel that I should make an admission: power pop generally isn’t my thing. So when I read that Fountains of Wayne released their first album in 1996 I was, to say the least, surprised. You mean the “Stacy’s Mom” band had been around almost a decade before their breakthrough hit? Who knew? Clearly not me. On the band’s debut DVD, “No Better Place – Live in Chicago,” the band crank out nearly an hour’s worth of their tunes for an audience who has seats but opt not to sit down – which wouldn’t be so odd if they were dancing instead of standing and clapping somewhat stiffly…but I digress.

In both looks and sound, “No Better Place” is slick. Taped way back in 2005 – and only now being released – the stage is full of lighting rigging and flat-screen TVs making it look more like an appearance on a late night talk show than a typical concert. Similarly, Fountains of Wayne are all business. Rarely does the band wander off script either between or during songs. Aside from frontman Chris Collingwood making a joke about not all the band’s songs being about drinking, they are pretty, let’s say, “dry” instead of “humorless.”

Fountains of Wayne let the music speak for itself as they fly through sixteen songs. Somewhat disappointing, however, are the coverage of guitar player Jody Porter’s relatively edgy guitar solos and the inexplicable censoring of “shit” in the chorus of “Bright Future In Sales.” Also included, as a bonus, on the DVD is an acoustic set recorded in 2008. The five song set is equally good looking with multiple camera angles.

My guess is that if you’re a Fountains of Wayne fan, you know what you’re getting before you even pop the DVD into your player. It’s clear a lot of time and thought was put into the taping of “No Better Place – Live in Chicago” and it’s pretty refreshing, not to mention easier on the eyes, to not have all the jumpy editing cuts that seem so popular anymore. Fountains of Wayne simply go in and do their thing on “No Better Place” and it works.

B

buy it!