Talk about last minute decisions. While still recovering from last weekend's "hat trick", Jo called to point out that there just happened to be a show in Cleveland Thursday. Since Cleveland is only 4 1/2 hours away, we figured "why not?" Imagine my surprise when I got home from work and saw Alt Jen in the driveway with Jo. What a nice surprise!! We left Rochester by 5:30, just in time to get a speeding ticket by 6:00 (it must be something with Fruvous related license plates). Since this is becoming a frequent occurrence with all of us, the question came up...just how many stamps do you need before the guys pay your speeding tickets??? This little setback did not deter our mission.
We found the venue with no problem at around 10:00. We were greeted by staff who were handing out copies of the opening bands cassette. Toby gave us a warm welcome and treated us to Pez (YAY Toby!!).
Not long after that we heard the extended intro to Sahara and we knew we were in for a treat!! There was a fairly large crowd, that was kind of cramped into the close confines of Wilbert's. The people were very enthusiastic, and more than willing to shout out the score of the hockey game that was playing on the TV's. The guys joked how hard it was to play and try and watch the game at the same time. This led to some interesting banter of how fun it is to look into the crowd and actually see our expressions. When they receive a positive sign from us, that is indication that they can continue.
The highlight of the night came when they played Pisco Bandito. What a treat, since we missed its debut after arriving too late in Albany. The guys all seemed to be in very good moods!! We were treated to "The Ballad of Marion Fruvous", "Ash Hash", and "Organ Grinder" WHOHOOOO!!!!
The show lasted until about 12:15, and we were able to say hello to Jian, and a quick good-bye to Dave. We had to pile back in the car to get Jen back to work by 6:00 and me by 8:00. One hour of sleep is more than enough when you're on a Fruvous high!!!
On my scale of 1 to 4 Budgie dogs (4 being my dream show), this show rates a 3 3/4!!!!
One of the Cleveland papers described Moxy as being in the"tradition of Bare Naked Ladies". Well, the guys just loved that!! They said that they thought that while BNL is a great band they did not sit around and say maybe we can be in the tradition of BNL!!! Then they realized that BNL are rich, and maybe they should have done that. Which led into Moxy's new song ... "If I had a thousand dollars"!!!!!!!!! That theme was continued through the night and when Jian was telling everyone about their merchandise he wanted to make sure everyone bought Live Noise, Bargainville, Gordon, and Wood!!!!!!
From Josh Woodward:
Now, Cleveland. I didn't know what to expect here. I'd never been to Wilbert's, only the Odeon. I got there _way_ early, but was suprised to find Sheryl and company already there. It was so early that they weren't checking for tickets (I never had to "check in", even though I'd ordered the tickets earlier that day for roll call). We claimed the row of seats right on the side of the stage. The room was a lot smaller than the Odeon, which was great by me. We were early enough to see the soundcheck in its entirety, which was very cool. Mike's made-up Jockey lyrics had me rolling on the floor. I spent a long while waiting around talking to Sheryl & friends and SandyFromOhio. Also, some very cool people I met at a TMBG concert a few months ago showed up for their first Fruvous concert, which was great. Hi, Tracy & friends! But, the best, most wonderful suprise was knowing that Jennyc would be driving up from Dallas to see the concert and catch a train into Mass. on Saturday. She and her friend made it a little late, but it was great anyway to see them! Lots of other people made it.
Anyway, the opening act was Plaster Sandals from Buffalo. They had a good jammy sound. Their setlist for those who care: Sunshine Girl, Come In Close, How It Goes, Shoplifters, Kicking, Soul, Solo, Wish I Could Climb, See and Read, This Life, April.
Fruvous came out a lot later than I expected, but it was well worth the wait. That familiar droning A note faded into the PA.
The Set: Sahara (ext), Jockey, Spidey '97, King>Green, Sad Girl, Pisco, Boo, Fly, Michigan, Organ Grinder, Saucep'n, Message, Marion Fruvous (!), Ash, BJ, Video, Can't Explain, Car, Signed. E1: Authors, Psycho Killer. E2: Drink.
Sahara was tremendous. I hadn't seen it since MIT. This extended version clocked in at over 9 minutes. Completely wailing. Jockey was next again. Excellent. And then, Spidey '97! It's a great theme that carried itself into Chicago as well: opening up the shows with the dark rock numbers.
After Spidey, Jian notices that the hockey game was on in the background, but since he didn't have his glasses on he couldn't watch the game so he was pissed. A funny quick a capella impromptu number came up from this: "Canadians Without Glasses". Then came an unexpected early-set appearance by the King Of Spain, and then the fabled tale of Green Eggs & Ham.
Jenny mentioned to me that "they have NO stage". Right then, Murr made a comment about the "ample" space on stage, and how they could take 10 people up there. Jian spotted my Barenaked Ladies T-shirt and felt compelled to make fun of them. :-) He mentions that an article claimed they were "in the tradition of BNL". Their position on that statement: "We like the Barenaked Ladies -- good men, good guys, friends of ours, amazing band. Friends of ours, we sang on their first record, they're cool guys. However. We don't consider ourselves to sound like them, anybody with any sense in music knows that we don't sound like them. We do happen to be from Toronto and somewhat acoustic. But the thing that pisses me off is that we're not in the tradition of the Barenaked Ladies. Because that implies that we sat down and said, man, let's jump onto some sort of tradition. Let's see, we could do Celtic, we could do middle-eastern pop.. no, let's do the Barenaked Ladies! That's just not the way our group came together." Dave introduces the next song as a new song they just worked up called "If I Had $1,000".
If I had $1,000
I'd buy a Beer Store
But not a real Beer Store, that's cruel.
"We'd make exactly 1% of what that band makes. [...] We're a lot cooler, we just have a lot less money.. and, uh.. that makes them cooler."
So, the new section. Sad Girl was great as always. And Pisco! PISCO! Wonderful!! No pinata this time, though. *laughs*
Then came the time for a little.. herbal happiness, with Boo Time. Middle section: "North Ohio / Me-Oh-My-Oh / Burnin' candles / Plastic sandals / Beating silvers / Groovin' Wilberts / Kind of stuffy / Daddy puffy / What a fuckin' shame that we missed the game!"
Jian then apologizes for being so bitter about everything, and that he didn't mean it (except for the bit about Jewel's poetry). Dave then kicks into a minor-key improv called "We Really Love Our Job", from Dave's new solo live album due out next month, called "Web of Lies".
Fly was next. It had a bit of a special meaning for me this particular night.
Michy was next, and crunchy as always. Being by Murray's amp was great. And an unexpected song after this - Organ Grinder, complete with the "heater in my truck" verse. It was fun with the hyper crowd of the night. Saucep'n completed the pump-up phase.
They guys talk about being able to see everything that anyone in the audience is doing. Things calmed down a bit with a soulful Message. Afterwards, the guys notice that the game is still on and find out that it's in overtime. Mike whips into a snippit of their supposed new musical, "On the Redwings".
And then it happened.
Jian stares down the barrel of his microphone. He opened his mouth, and these words came out: "A lot of people ask us where we got our name, Moxy Fruvous." What happened for the next few minutes is a bit of a blur. You see, they played the one song I've been waiting my LIFE to see. The ONE song I knew in my heart I'd never see.
They played Marion Fruvous.
THEY PLAYED MARION FRUVOUS! It was amazing! And it was every bit as perfect as I'd expected. What an incredible treat that I didn't even partially expect.
Ash Hash, BJ, and Video came next, but I was still dazed. :)
The guys break into Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor snippits out of nowhere at this point. Jian talks about being in Joseph long ago as the Pharoah. Then a guy announces that the Redwings won and the guys immediately break into a (preplanned?) parody of "I Saw Her Standing There" with the refrain of "...When the Redwings won game 2!" And then, they went into Can't Explain. :) Finally, this segued into Car.
They closed the set off with Signed. Encore 1 was Authors and Psycho Killer. The 2nd encore was Drinking, which was nice as always.
By then, it was 1:00. The rain was starting to pour down very hard. I had work in the morning at 8:00, and a 3 hour drive home. I stuck around anyway since I knew that I wouldn't see Jenny for quite a while, but I left soon after and braved the el crappo weather. Made it back and scored and hour or two of sleep. Joy. :-)
The Wilbert's show was only my second Frufous show, so I did not realize how rare it was to hear the Ballad of Marion Fruvous. What made that song even more special was when Dave leaned over the monitor and asked me if he could borrow my hat for the song. Amazed and in awe I handed it over. He placed it on the stage. Then when the time came for him to play the part of Marion Fruvous he wore my hat!! That'sthe coolest thing that ever happened to me at a concert and I just had to share it.
Mark from Cleveland (firstname.lastname@example.org)
From Jon Boals:
Hi. My name is Jon Boals and I live in Cleveland, Ohio. Last night I saw Moxy Fruvous for the first time and I can ABSOLUTELY AND UNEQUIVOCALLY say that it was the most fun I've ever had at a live show.
Also, please excuse me if I get names wrong or make some stupid blunder here, because I didn't know anything about Fruvous before last night. I had no idea what to expect when I got to the show, and I ended up getting steamrolled by the Fruvous vibe.
So I heard a little bit from people about how these guys are "in the mold of" Barenaked Ladies. I can tell after last night's show that this statement is a bone of contention among Fruheads. Jian went on a little tirade about a local magazine that had advertised them as being "in the tradition of Barenaked Ladies." I'd like to state for the record that I am a BNL fan. I'd also like to state for the record that I think Fruvous is a thousand times cooler than BNL. The energy and talent these guys have is AMAZING!! Their sense of humor is obvious. Their humble demeanor is refreshing. But what struck me most was the musical talent these guys displayed. I've never seen a band share instrument duties the way Fruvous did. And it was completely effortless! Almost to the point where you're reluctant to label somebody as THE bass player or THE guitar player. At best, you can say something like, "Bass is his primary instrument." Also, I think more bands should have stand-up drum sets like Jian's. Drummers are too often buried at the back of the stage.
Last night's show was at a place called Wilbert's, which apparently is a frequent stop on Fruvous tours. They've played there quite a few times, according to fruvous.com. Jian said they keep coming back because, "Mike [the owner] feeds us SO well." The place was packed. I go to Wilbert's a lot and this was the largest crowd I've ever seen there. The guys did a little ditty about how hot and stuffy it was in the place. A couple people in the audience said that Fruvous likes to come on late. But I didn't think they were too late at all, maybe 15-20 minutes at most. They started with Jian playing his drums and Murray playing his bass. Just a nice, funky beat and the audience started clapping along. Then Mike and Dave ran out and took the stage. I apologize for not knowing the names of songs, so I can't tell you what they started with. The songs they played that I've been able to figure out are: King of Spain, Green Eggs & Ham, Fly, some song about "Give my regards to BJ" (I loved this song), a GORGEOUS 4-part acapella harmony that they did with the crowd snapping their fingers to provide a beat, Bargainville, My Baby Loves a Bunch of Poets, The Ballad of Marion Fruvous/blue box song. Those are the only ones I can think of, but they played for almost 2 hours. They did a medley of Prince's Alphabet Street and about 6 other 80's songs that I don't remember right now. They also played 2 encores and during one of them they played a fantastic version of Psycho Killer. They were getting updates on the Stanley Cup finals from the crowd throughout the night, and when Detroit finally won, the guys launched into a medley of Beatles songs and changed all the lyrics to be about the Red Wings and Caps. During that montage, they brought some kid up onstage who was wearing a Red Wings jersey and he danced around like Sandman Sims on Showtime at the Apollo. Murray also challenged Dave as to what styles of bass he knew and said, "I'll bet you can't play something in a Jamaican conga style." Then Dave launched into an impromptu Jamaican song, with an island-beat feel to it. Then Mike (I think) challenged him to do something Irish, so he did that as well.
Sorry for the long, rambling post. I am proud to consider myself
a Fruhead now.
Some other tidbits from the performance include: