Live Show: 2/19/00


Toronto, ON

3rd Annual Frühead Convention

Reviewed by: Melanie, Josh, Kat & Lawrence

The Details

Well, I figure I can remember what happened with five songs, so I'll do my bit by trying my hand at a short review.

The "venue" was a double meeting room in the hotel. Most people were sitting on the floor with a few standing on the sides & the back. There was a platform in front, with a table behind that. Two mics were on the platform and one on either side.

Murray, Dave, and Jian came into the room, guitars and sheets of paper in hand. As they got situated, they decided to leave the mics where they were. Just about the time I was wondering if Mike was coming, he walked in and said to the others, "I was waiting for you guys by the elevator." They got into place, Dave & Murray by the two lower mics, Jian and Mike on the platform. Mike said, "Jian and I are sharing the gold. Dave and Murray take silver and bronze." A group of folks, many holding cameras and camcorders, were standing off to the side. One of the guys said, "Those must be the people with media passes."

Before they started singing, Jian explained that, two years ago, there were a number of songs that they hadn't been playing regularly in concert, so it was easier then to come up with a setlist of those for FruCon. However, since they try very hard to do different shows every time, now there's not a lot that they haven't played regularly because, "Well, look at the roads we've been traveling."

So the few obscure songs available were now apparently gone from their brains so they had to relearn them. But since they'd been working so hard practicing for the three nights of concerts they hadn't had much time to practice for FruCon, "So some of us are 'on book' this afternoon," Jian said as he brandished a fistful of papers. Mike was the other one holding papers. (Apparently, they really had been practicing upstairs in one of the hotel rooms.)

They started "Big Fish" to much applause. They messed up some of the lines which was endearing in a way, since they hardly ever do that in concert. I think one of them said something like, "You probably know these lyrics better than we do." (We probably did, but people were pretty much listening, not singing along.)

I almost called out "You can get the lyrics off of," but I didn't want to sound snotty. Then I noticed that Mike HAD gotten his lyrics sheet off of

Cedric & Entropy were good, fun to watch. Not much to say except that Entropy was about over almost as soon as it was begun. In true Fruvous fashion, they did it up tempo.

I think after Cedric, Dave or Murray said, "This is fun. It's like we're playing in your living room." It had a quality of performing, for sure, but also just having fun.

Misplaced was great. Jian explained that this was specifically requested for FruCon, because it doesn't get played often. He said that they work really hard on setlists for their concerts, but they can only play so many of this type of song. (I'm figuring he meant, slow and mellow ones.) Since this is probably my favorite Fruvous song, I was mesmerized. It was done only with guitars--Dave and Jian playing.

Harbormall was up to Moxy Fruvous's creative and satirical standards. This was also fun, as my daughter and I had driven down to the water and had lunch inside at Queen's Quay (which is pronounced "key" for all you other Yankees who might not know this), so we had a sense of what they were talking about.

The group really responded to the set, but Moxy Fruvous could've sung the alphabet to that crowd, and we'd have loved it. Maybe that could be a suggestion for next year. :-)

Just a word about FruCon. I arrived late, because I just wasn't sure about the whole thing. I now wish I had gotten there earlier. It was a great deal of fun, and not weird at all--well, relatively speaking. The whole thing is a bit weird, but we all know that, don't we? Many thanks to the organizers. And many thanks to Moxy Fruvous.

I'm really glad that I decided to take the time and drive the 8 hours to Toronto which is a neat city.

If the ng doesn't get flooded with people's recollections of the concerts, I'll drop a line about that later.

From Josh:

I wasn't even there, but thanks to Misch who manned the #MF channel, here it is:

Big Fish, Cedric, Entropy, Misplaced, Harbourmall

From Kat:

at the urging of carey & jen (& for the benefit of any of you who weren't there), i figured i'd post a little review of the 'con itself. ("little" is, er, rather not the right word, i realize, after looking over this protracted post of mine. skim as you see fit. ;p) i attended all 3 shows, basked in the glow of fabulous songs (like "early morning rain" on thursday. mmm.), and delighted in the improvs (jian's bathroom story, murray's "giv'er!" response for marion fruvous, etc...), but they've all blended together too much in my mind to give any sort of coherent individual thoughts on them. the *convention* itself, however...

paul, andrea and i arrived at the courtyard (by mariott (tm)) around 11:30, checked in & got our perky yellow namebadges. (i proceeded to lose mine about a half dozen times throughout the day... but that's another story.) i immediately gravitated toward the singalong being led by george & phil, which was the first of many magical moments that day. it's not often one is among a group of people who not only know all the words to fruvous songs, but the *harmonies*, too... i definitely could've sung all afternoon. (my tambourine saw more action than it's ever seen, i believe. *grin*)

i started getting nervous for the open mic around 1, so i practiced a little, wandered a bit & bought 12 raffle tickets from the lovely donna. all the prizes hadn't even arrived yet--i just wanted to win something. *cough* there was lots to do around the room: a large, wipe-off crossword puzzle; photo-puzzles from the IWHO photo shoot; a large white sheet covered with "frufitti" by fans for fruvous; IRC; crafts 'n' photos; a map to mark your location. the continuous video loop outside the conference room was definitely a nice touch--finally got to see the IWHO video. very cute. i didn't spend much time in the separate room playing fruvous performances / interviews / etc, but it looked like good stuff (the sort of thing i'd've loved to spend lots of time watching... if there weren't so many other things to do). there was also a table set up where one could purchase all sorts of rare fru-memorabilia (indie tapes, _bargainville_ promo tapes, stuck in the 90's cds, etc.). i myself picked up a _no-mega cd_ and a _wood_ promo cassette... dig the live version of "laika"! wow! ressurect *that* one, fruvous!

so, the first "official" event got going around 1:45--the open mic. there was to be a "judging" panel, drawn from members of the audience. two women were selected... and then the "mystery" panelists were revealed: murray & jian. ack. as if i weren't nervous enough... everyone did really well, though. the "i love my boss" boys did an encore performance of that tune, as well as 2 separate renditions of "pork tenderloin." absolutely hilarious. *grin* phil schwan covered the apocryphal "follow the road," a quartet from VA did an SATB "gulf war song," kelsey engle sang "present tense tureen" (with some backup from the crowd & panelists), lawrence solomon did "bed and breakfast" (winner of best song choice, according to murray), angel lit up the stage with "minnie the moocher" (complete with lyrics appropriate to the occasion), i pulled off my debut guitar performance with IWHO, and the event was wrapped up with another "gulf war song," led by phil & george nowik & 2 other fellows (though they "warmed up" with a fabulous off-the-cuff "peace of mind"). the awards were fun--i got best debut guitar performance and *grin* best shoes (red plaid, to match my red fender acoustic). my prize? a pez dispenser of a fez-adorned camel. *heh* its fez is red, too...

next up was the panel Q&A session, moderated by fiona. we asked questions of john schwartz, washington post staff-writer and author of a great article about fruvous in july of '98; jaymz b, toronto radio personality, performer and proponent of fruvous from the early 90's; and kim hughes, NOW reporter responsible for one of the first-ever articles about fruvous. this was amusing if not informative, particularly jaymz's anecdotes about the frulads (and his facilitating jian's "date" with a woman who collected cacti and refused to answer consistantly to any one name...). during the Q&A the missing fruvous appeared (mike & dave), & they all left to practice for their performance at the 'con, up next after the panel.

the lads were fabulous... jian joked about being "on-book," and indeed, they all had little pieces of paper floating about with lyrics to their intended tunes. (jian also quipped that he'd listened to the b album for the first time in... 11 years. ;p) they opened it up with "big fish," which set the crowd wild. jian's cranky ol'mom voice was *hysterical,* as was the golfing chorus where all of them were stretching the bottom of their vocal ranges. afterward, mike was amazed that they'd only sang one song--"it feels like we've been singing for an hour." *heh* nice try, guys... next came "ballad of cedric fruvous," which thrilled me b/c this is quite possibly my favourite tune on the disc--and certainly one i never expected to hear live. apparantly there's a video for this tune, made on a very limited budget and for which the facilitators were very careful to bring every object mentioned in the song ("here's a roulette wheel... and red dice... and a *sponge*..."). carrying on in the b-vein ("no, not that one..." *shuffle* "here, let's do this...") they broke into the FULL "entropy." *giggle* "misplaced," the token ballad, came next, with both jian and dave on guitars. i'd heard the "electric" version at noho last dec. 30, but hearing it totally acoustic was beautiful and purely magical. reminds me again why i love this band--they do such wonderful things for their fans. :) they wrapped up the set with "harbourmall," a VERY old-skool song which featured dave as the "naive young chap" ("you can tell i'm naive... just look at my face!"). it's sort of a fru-take on the banana boat song that's *really* catchy... i've found myself humming it more than once since i've returned, which is irksome because i only sort of know the chorus. ;p all in all, it was a great set... fruvous made a couple of lyrical gaffes throughout the 5 songs, but it just made the whole situation all the more endearing. (did i mention that i love these guys? yesyes. thank you, fruvous, for visiting & performing--it was wonderful.)

the final event was... the raffle. there were 11 prizes to be raffled off: 3 puzzles, a bargainville-era poster, a framed poster from the michigan show, a _no-mega cd_, an indie tape, a "stuck in the 90's" cd, spots on the guestlist of a fru-show for 2, a spot on the bowling team, and... something else i've forgotten. really, raffle-winners, this was very anti-climactic--i had a hard time figuring out if anyone had *won* anything b/c no one was shouting out with joy as their numbers were called! though i must admit, frunique's glee at winning an indie tape was certainly full of excitement... as was my own amazement at winning the coveted bowling position. ye gods. i'm still dizzy at the thought... the blessed event has yet to be scheduled, but come hell or high water, i WILL be there! yes!

so, thus concluded the 'con... and i'm left wishing that there were another convention this weekend. *sigh* thank you to all the coordinators! your hard work most certainly paid off, and made for a festive and fabulous day of fruvous fun. :) it was so marvelous chatting and singing and bonding with everyone there--honest to god, moxy fruvous has the best fans in the world! *hug* and for all you who couldn't attend... you were sorely missed, but here's hoping for frucon IV, n'est-ce pas?

still waiting for her frucon t-shirt (darn slow yale postal station)--

From Lawrence:

Frucon. not just Fruvous' performance, but the entire thing... it was a blast. such a great event.

the sing along was so much fun... it was right at the beginning while people were still arriving. people would name songs and whoever was holding the guitar would try to play them, with frequent accompaniment from bass, shaker eggs, tambourines, and doumbeks.

and the open-mic event was... traumatizing. :) I enjoyed the whole thing - especially the parts where *other* people were playing. everyone did such a good job. it's not every band that has such talented fans.

the panel discussion was really cool, especially since John Schwartz from the Washington Post was one of the people there, and that was where I made the connection that he was the one responsible for the reference in the AOL article a few weeks ago.

and then, Früvous. they were running on "Früvous time", so they took the stage at around 4:20, and played a short set... as soon as Jian mentioned that he just listened to the B Album for the first time in several years, I knew we were in for a big treat.

they started with Big Fish, and it sounded really great. The silly voices and the harmonies were really great. and Murray whistling the accordion part was great! Although I can certainly see many reasons why it's sooooooo not a concert song - besides the limited political relevance, that is. it must be about 5 minutes long. Mike said afterwards something like "We've only played one song? It feels like we've been up here for an hour!"

they then spoke of a video they made that pretty much no one has seen, and played The Ballad of Cedric Fruvous.

Some talk of wishing they had a piano in the room, and going right into Entropy (with great guitar playing by Dave), giving me big hopes that we might also get to hear Jenny Washington, the other 'b' song they never play...

then they played the most incredible version of Misplaced I've ever heard. Jian and Dave playing acoustic guitars. It was nice, not overloaded with instruments, and I had a very hard time maintaining my composure during it. (not that I'm bitter :)

and they then introduced the Naive Young Chap and played Harbourmall, which was great (and I'd never heard in any form before...)

and the raffle happened and I didn't win anything, but lots of people did, and we hate them... no, wait, we don't hate them. I wouldn't carry a grudge about it. They're all going to enjoy what they got a lot - lots of cool stuff was given away. (I can't be too bitter or jealous, since I actually *bought* an Indie Tape - and no, it wasn't the one-of-a-kind hand drawn one)

Thanks to everyone who made it possible and enjoyable. is it February, 2001 yet? :)

The Pictures

Click the description to get the pic:

Misc. Info

Some other tidbits from the performance include:

Back to the tour dates 1999 page