If you love serious, brooding, sonically experimental musical artists, then Fountains of Wayne is not the group for you. Full of bright guitars, wry lyrics and catchy hooks, the foursome manages to create upbeat songs that both reference classic melodic British pop while staying wholly modern, American and slightly adolescent. Many music critics have dubbed the band's sound as power pop, but frontman and vocalist Chris Collingwood has other ideas. "A lot of people say that what we play is power pop. I don't think so. I would just say it's rock and roll." The genesis of Fountains of Wayne began in 1986 when bassist Adam Schlesinger and guitarist Chris Collingwood met as students at Williams College in Massachusetts. Sharing a love for British pop, the two friends played music together, as well as with other bands until eventually going their separate ways after graduation. Schlesinger found success as a songwriter penning the title track to the Tom Hanks film That Thing You Do! and earning himself an Academy Award and Grammy nomination. Then in 1996, Collingwood and Schlesinger - joined by guitarist Jody Porter and drummer Brian Young - came together with their first self-titled LP, followed in 1999 with Utopia Parkway. Both records found modest college radio success, but it was nothing compared to the mainstream commercial success the group saw in 2003 with Welcome Interstate Managers. The album's single "Stacy's Mom" charted well on Billboard's Top 40, supported by a hit MTV music video featuring model Rachel Hunter as the title character. The group's loyal alternative rock fan base was joined by legions of new admirers discovering the group's impossibly upbeat style of pop perfection. Their set at Norfolk's Infinity Hall is bright and bouncy and features fifteen song selections from their career. The catchy "Radiation Vibe" from their debut LP proves to be a crowd favorite. With the group's college alma mater just 50 miles north of the concert venue, the audience gets swept up in the nostalgic ode to Williams College, "Valley Winter Song." Though Schlesinger cautioned the crowd at the beginning of the concert from calling out for their biggest hit, Fountains of Wayne does eventually give the people what they want with a rousing performance of "Stacy's Mom."
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Episode #203 / Length: 56 minutes