The Irving Plaza show was a great opening set at a little bit over an hour. They even managed to swing an encore! I wasn't sure how well received they would be by the Violent Femmes crowd, but obviously my fears were unnecessary. There was some chatter through some of the songs, especially quieter ones, but the crowd was just as talkative through the femmes. Here's the setlist:
Sahara (non-extended) Half As Much BJ You Will Go To The Moon Minnie the Moocher (lots of NY politics references) Get In The Car I Will Hold On King Of Spain Green Eggs and Ham (short) Michigan Militia Johnny Saucep'n Love Potion #9 Medley Encore: Drinking Song
The Femmes put on a great show as well. Right before one of the songs (and I can't remember which one, now! Should've made a setlist...) Gordon was having a little trouble with his guitar strap and started blaming their problems on Moxy Früvous. He said that this was probably the last time they would ever be playing with them. "First of all, they sing too damn good! That harmonizing?!" But he said the main reason was that when he got on stage, he stepped on a piece of gum (hmmm, Jian miss his drum stand??).
On our way out, a couple of girls saw my friend Aimee's budgie dog T-shirt and asked if that was the name of the opening band. We said yes, and they seemed very ethusiastic about it, saying they really liked them. Hopefully there are some new fans now!
From Bill Bowen:
Wow! What else can you say about these guys? I've seen quite a few shows over the years and I, nor my friend Mike, could not remember seeing an opening band receive the screaming requests for an encore they gave Fruvous. I was still a little confused about why Moxy was opening for the Violent Femmes and not the other way around. I can only remember the Femmes first album and maybe two songs from 1986. But apparently they've released 8 albums in the last twelve years or so, so they get top billing. Anyway, they combined to easily sell out a nice-sized venue.
It looked to me like the crowd was about a 40-60 split. A lot of people there had never seen Moxy before (as evidenced by the usual poll Jian takes). But they won them over. I heard some people behind me saying, "Hey, I like these guys." I got to hear a few new songs I hadn't heard on this tour and I got to talk to Jian and Mike afterwards.
Their show itself was pretty hyper-paced with not a whole lot of banter, but it's always funny to watch them incite the crowd by calling them hippies and geeks and throwing around Femme references even Femme-heads may not have picked up on. Mike at one point asked if there was any truth to the rumour that they considered changing their name to the "Militant Femmes?"
Dave played a great King of Spain and avoided bad puns during the evening as far as I could tell. Jian was unusually humble, probably because they felt outnumbered, but there were plenty of Fru-heads and Fru-jerseys and Fru-buttons and Jason Reiser's microphone to clearly establish a presence.
It's always amazing to me with the number of fans they have, the details they remember about you when they see you (I know I'm not the only one). I haven't seen them play since May, and I don't think I've talked to Mike in nearly a year, but he remembered where he last saw me, he remembered dropping my name in BJ Don't Cry that day and he remembered a Fruvous candle my brother made for him three years ago. And they're always like that!
A couple of years ago, the guys were asking their fans what we would like to see or what they could do for us. I think that's how the whole Fru-Con thing started. Jian found me after a show and started to ask me that same question, but we were interrupted and I never got to answer. The fact that he was standing there asking me that question was all that any fan could ask for. I don't need Fru-Con, or prizes for travelling to shows (though I would have loved bowling and dancing with Dave). Just a simple, "Hi Bill. How've you been?" And they give me that every single time.
Sahara (non-extended) Half As Much BJ You Will Go To The Moon Minnie the Moocher: "Lyrics 30 minutes before the show or your money back!" (I had no idea Chelsea was a lesbian hooker?!) Get In The Car I Will Hold On King Of Spain Green Eggs and Ham (short) Michigan Militia Johnny Saucep'n Love Potion #9 Medley- Encore: Drinking Song
I was one of those people eagerly waving my arm from the balcony when the drummer guy (on proofreading, I checked the web site and see that his name is Jian) asked those of us to raise their hands who had never heard of Moxy Fruwithtwodotsoveritvous (henceforth MF). I'd never seen or heard of MF before, but I was absolutely blown away. The tickets for the show were a birthday present and the best part of it was discovering MF. It's right up there with the times I was taken to Billy Bragg and Elvis Costello, neither of whom I'd heard before seeing them live.
I was clapping my hands off hoping they'd do an encore and they did. It was the best new music I've heard in years. And the performances were fantastic. MF moved effortlessly between genres from calypso to barbershop to rap, often in the same song. The lyrics were the funniest thing I've heard since Monty Python, and before that Tom Lehrer and The FUGs. I'm still laughing about Green Eggs and Ham and The King of Spain. And it was the best version of Minnie the Moocher I'd ever heard (and I'm playing the Cab Calloway version as I type this) -- MF had the Irving Place audience eating out of their hands in the call and response, and managed to insert a bunch of lyrics about President Clinton (representing the United States, batting Democrat), Al D'Amato (representing the State of New York, batting Republican) who they described as between Mussolini and someone else less dictatorial whose name escapes me, and Rudolph Giuliani (representing the city of New York, and also batting Republican).
The Violent Femmes show that followed, I'm afraid, isn't worth writing about. They seemed awfully bored and static compared to the madcap energy of MF, who seemed real happy just to be playing.
So I wind up buying a t-shirt with a tasteful little yellow dog
bodied, fish tailed, bird beaked, lone-ranger masked beast on the
front. Then I get up in the morning and put the t-shirt on, order all the
disks through Music Boulevard (TM, most likely), and head into work. No
sooner d I sit down to lunch than one of my coworkers jumps up and shouts
"MF, that's one of my favorite bands". I guess she has an excuse, she is
Canadian. So she pumped me for details about the show and then everyone
else at the table starts asking us what kind of music they play? And I'm
thinking that when they started, I thought they sounded like Moody
Blues/ELO with a little of the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds thrown in for good
measure. Then I was thinking, no it's got sort of a ska thing going with
lyrics more like David Byrne or Monochrome set or Jim Infantino. Finally,
I join my coworker and say 'you just have to go see them yourself'.
Suffice it to say that MF defies genrefication.
Some other tidbits from the performance include: