I have to admit, I was a little surprised to find out that Fruvous would be making a second appearance in Ithaca, and at the Nines no less. It just seemed that last time they were there, it was too small of a venue for a band like Moxy. But, as it turns out, the concert was wonderful, as was the crowd (and not too "crowded").
Jo and I left Rochester on Saturday afternoon around five, and on the way to Ithaca, we picked up Jen Brewer. I think we made it to Ithaca by seven or so. Ithaca is a college town, with absolutely *no* parking (well, that's a _slight_ exaggeration, but, you know what I mean). After driving around for twenty minutes, we found a place to park a mere four blocks from the venue.
The Nines is a restaurant by day, and it was packed. We eventually managed to claim a table, thanks to some fellow Fruheads. The service at the Nines was less than stellar, but eventually I managed to get a sandwich that was very good (probably because I waited for it for so long).
Over the course of the evening, tons of people showed up. Jason, Rob, Leah, Lisa, Dan, Jered, Vika, Colleen, Tom Fazzio, Pete (a friend of mine from college), Chris/Moe, Shawn, and many others. So, OK, it's not *tons*, but still a great turnout.
Cal was back doing sound. Yay! The opening band was Johny Vegas and they hit the stage around ten. The crowd really enjoyed them, and you could tell that a lot of people there were Vegas fans; many people were singing along, etc... Vegas played for about an hour, making Moxy's stage arrival at about 11:30. A bunch of us moved around during the set; behind the stage, back to the bar, back to behind the stage. The Nines is the only venue at which behind the stage is completely accessible. However, the back door to the Nines was next to an open sewer drain or something; made for interesting odors when the band went out there to await encores.
Fruvous' set was very similar to the night before's, but with Cal back at the "helm", things went a lot more smoothly and sounded a HELL of a lot better. I wasn't that impressed with the sound of the room last October, but this show was fairly good. Moxy played for a little less than two hours, and the crowd absolutely loved every minute of it.
After the set, a bunch of us stayed to chit chat, catch up with each other and Fruvous, and relax in the afterglow of a Fru-concert. Eventually, we all said our goodbyes (and many "til tomorrows!!"), and Colleen/Rob, and Vika, Jo, Jen and I left Ithaca around 2:30 or so, making it back to Rochester by four to four-thirty. Another sleepless night...man, I forgot what it feels like to tour! :-)
Great show. I definitely left the Nines with a different impression altogether this time around. Looking forward to Fruvous' next visit to this highly intimate venue.
From Colleen Campbell:
Not that I saw the show which included the "Life is Fruvous" teaser in the lineup--not that I ever have, actually--but it seemed apropos, considering that I set off from work at 4 p.m. Saturday, drove all evening to get to a Fruvous show, saw them Sat & Sun nights, drove Monday morning and afternoon, got in at 3:30, and headed back to work an hour later. Unlike Mary, I didn't get a speeding ticket--just really deserved one. . .
Wow. It's been a while since I've really done an honest-to-god review, on my own computer, posted for the benefit of those who weren't there (and the pleasure of reliving the event). Sorry if I'm a bit rusty at this!
Veek and I rolled into the Ithaca show at the Nines with as close as I've yet come to split-second timing. We entirely missed Johny Vegas, which was a disappointment, as I'd heard a lot about them, and arrived only about 10-15 minutes before Fruvous went on (after a 6 1/2 hour drive). It was the strangest venue I have *ever* been in, and the strangest vantage point I've ever had in viewing Fruvous. Lemme tell ya, after a show's worth of staring at Fruvous fannies, I can make an informed judgment as to which is the best. Also interesting to get Fruvous's viewing point on the crowd, watching Jered, Dan, Rich, Michelle, Lisa, Maureen, et al. boogie in their own particular. . . "Idiom, sir?" Yes, idioms.
The set wasn't on the whole an unusual one, though there were some highlights and, of course, the two new songs. I'm always glad to hear "Stuck in the 90's" (especially with the reference to Governor Patacki in NY state, which always gets some cheers) and "Jockey" (I'll never get tired of it) and I'm always glad to have some of the old standbys omitted (which will go nameless 'cause I'm sure they're *someone's* favorite songs). As to the two new songs--well, they took quite a while to get around to actually *playing* "Sad Girl," trying to get the instruments tuned; they interrupted their attempts first with an impromptu song by Mike (on bass) and Murray (on drums) about "robots drinking coffee" and then by bursting into a high-energy "When I Saw Her Standing There." But yeah, they did eventually play it, and yes, I liked it. The rhymes were interesting, the melody was insinuating--but what really grabbed me was the subject matter. It was a mock-paean to the chic depression of our era, the societal demand that we immerse ourselves in ennui and misery. I do wonder why the instrument-change, personally, and all I can guess is that either Murray wants a chance at the drums or Mike wants to play the bass, because there's no need for them to take over those instruments. They followed "Sad Girl" immediately with Mike's "Sleepy Drinker," which I loved immediately: a very catchy melody, mellow, a purring kittycat of a song. I've been singing it ever since.
The Fruvous antics were more than up to par, naturally. One of the best moments was when they were intro'ing "Kids' Song" and some guy yelled out that the overlooked contingent was the kids; Jian commented that they could work him into the song and he backed into the bathroom, which was right behind him--and Jian, mic in hand, dashed in after him. Use your imagination as to the jokes that followed. During the interlude in GE&H, they abandoned the song for quite a while to lay some bad accents and worse puns on us, using Beatles song titles to comment on the food and service at The Nines. The best unspoken moment of the evening goes to Dave: there was a *TERRIBLE* smell coming from the back room every time the door was opened (and we were all whimpering for the Lads in having to go back there) and at one point, he made his comment by lighting a match and then setting the whole matchbook on fire. Mike, channeling Lou Reed, also addressed it in his moving poem about the egg-fart.
The night ended, for me, with lots of time talking with gathered Fruheads, including a couple I hadn't seen or talked to in many months. Jason's friend leah was there, and she presented me with a belated and impish birthday gift--some 100+ CDs for me to promo for my own delectation. I'm not sure there wasn't some sadistic intent in giving them to me, either. (leah, I'm on #8, for the record, 2 of which are worthwhile so far.) Then we drove the two hours to Chateau'Malley (my own coinage, thankee) and arrived at about 4:30. I think the next "Fruhead card" should revolve around how far we travel and what time we get to bed for these guys. . .
From Rich Drees:
Sometimes you don't know what you miss until its back in your life after a prolonged absence. That's the life lesson I took away with me from Moxy's show at the Nine's in Ithica.
I'm not talking about the pizza at the Nine's which is certainly delicious and I'm not talking about the restaurant's service either which noone would miss. (Slower than a snail on a double decaff.)
It had been a little over five months (Actually five months and five days, but who's counting), since any of my friends in the Wilkes-Barre, PA area Fru-Crew or myself had been able to venture forth on our crumbling interstate system (Let's face it, PA's Dept. of Transportation isn't happy unless at least 70% of the roadways aren't torn to shreds). But after a long winter battling a conspiracy of cold weather, terminally-ill cars and cash flow hiccups (Can you believe that the electric company and Bell Atlantic actually want you to pay those bills they send you?), several of us (Myself, the always beguiling Misty, the can't-stop-smilin' Michele and her boyfriend/chew toy Scott to be exact) loaded up the car and pointed it North for a much needed live Fruvous fix.
(Any one out there think I'm using too many parantheses?(I'll try to stop it now.))
Finding the club provided easier than the last time we were in the neighborhood last fall for Moxy's last show at the Nines. We only spent ten minutes driving around town before finding the club and the parking garage around the corner. (Evidently many fruvous fans found the same garage judging by the various Moxy- Themed vanity license plates we saw.) (Oh, Damn. Here I go again. (Sorry))
The atmosphere in the club was like a family reunion, except it was with people we like. (That's a joke if there are any other members of the Drees clan reading this.) Familiar faces bobbed through the crowd and we waved to several, hugged some more (people not just faces) and generally played catch up with several of the friends we have nade over the last couple of years of concert going.
Sitting at the bar, waiting for our food (And waiting and waiting and waiting. . .), we also got to talk to most of the Fru-Lads for a moment or two while they placed their own food order after their sound check.
Finally, some gobbled pizza and a rather boring set from Johnny Vegas later, the lads took the stage. I'll leave the set lists and such to others, suffice it to say, the Lads didn't disappoint. The boys definitely seemed to have stored some energy during their winter hibernation and that energy showered forth onto to the crowd. For such a little venue, the Nines had all the ambient crowd energy of seeing the Who at Woodstock or one of those old clips of women just freaking out at a Beatles concert.
As the boys ripped through their set and encores, with improved bits like ``Robots Making Coffee'' (Soon to be a Top 40 hit everywhere!) scattered through out the set, all the acumulated crap in my soul from the past five months (girlfriend break up, junk at work, and the strain of getting a new apartment just a couple of weeks before X-Mass) all floated away.
Normally I make fun of Grateful Dead fans and their talk about how shows are like family events and ``its more than just the music, man.'' hippie drop-out attitude. While I still might question some Deadheads hygene habits, I think I'm starting to see what they mean about how their shows are more than just concerts and how the fans are more than just fans.
I also realize that in my zeal to get as many stamps on my Fru-Head card as possible through 96 and 97, I may have taken the atmosphere and fun of the shows for granted a little bit. While I know that at some point it will all end, (Hopefully in the far future when the lads are singing ``Stuck in the 90s'' and are talking aboout their ages.), I 'm going to savor each show a little bit more and dance a little harder.
(Rich Drees is currently undergoing treatment for parathese addiction at
the Betty Ford Clinic, Strunk and White Memorial Wing. He can be
pestered by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Some other tidbits from the performance include: