Live Show: 8/24/97


Schwenksville, PA

Reviewed by: Chris O'Malley, Zard Snodgrass, Chris Traugott

The Details

Well, it was bound to happen. I never thought it would, but it did. Read on...

We all woke up Sunday morning around nine, did the continental breakfast thing, packed up and headed back to the festival. Moxy's first workshop was scheduled for noon, so some of us staked out seats in front of the Tank Stage. We also found out that the rows of chairs at the mainstage were accessible to anyone for the afternoon show, so we put some blankets on chairs there as well.

The "Keep on the Funny Side" workshop started on time; Moxy and Joel Mabus alternated, singing songs and telling jokes. It was the best time I had the whole weekend. Afterwards, we chatted with the band for a bit, got some food, and just walked around. Moxy's mainstage performance was scheduled from four to six.

Before the mainstage show, we rounded up as many of the fruheads as we could find (between 30 and 40), and took a bunch of group shots. Very cool! Can't wait to see how they came out.

We took our place for the mainstage show, and at four the first band, Bryndle, went on. They had a fairly strong country feel, which normally I don't care for, but they were very good. Moxy came up around 4:45, and played for about forty minutes. I wished they had more time in general at the festival; it seemed like they weren't given much stage exposure.

The crowd seemed to like Moxy, but I was just so distracted by the people sitting around me, squirting water guns all over the place, completely inconsiderate of the expensive camera that Jason was trying to keep dry during this barrage.

Right after Moxy's set, I said some quick goodbyes, and headed home. I left at six and managed to make it back to Rochester by eleven (damn good time, actually).

Although it may not be obvious from my writeup, I really did not enjoy myself at this festival. The vibe was not like Falconridge; people were rude, security was a menace, it was too rigid and structured. I don't think I'll be heading back to Philly next year for this little shindig.

So, yes, I had my first bad Moxy concert experience. Not because of Moxy, but because of the environment they were immersed in. Give me a Styleen's Rhythm Palace show anyday.

From Zard Snodgrass:

The next day's workshop was about the best I've seen. It was comedy, with only one other performer, which meant that everyone had a bit more time. Fruvous did (once again if memory serves correctly, ie: from the left, clear from the right (any of you old waitstaff recognize that!)) GMIA (?), Minnie the Moocher, Blow Wind Blow, and Dancing Queen medley. I think there was something else - can anyone fill in?? Very good, quick lyrics to Blow and Minnie!! Whee, and a lot of funny chatter! Quite a human treat, if I do say so! :) Despite Jian's illness (mainlining ex-strength Tylenol), they were in great form, playing off of each other well, and a little silly. Exhaustion seems to do wonders!

At some point after the workshop, around 3:30, we gathered a whole group of Fruheads together for a group photo. We had around 30 people, and there were still some missing off at other workshops and whatnot. It was fun, waiting as Lisa and Jason and Laurie ran back and forth with cameras (Lisa was doing auto-timer). We experimented with different poses, and hopefully some of these will come out well enough to go onto!! Nice to hang out with all, but then we dispersed to diff. viewing points for mainstage.

Fruvous only had about 25 minutes to do their stuff, but put in a powerful, fun show of the standards. This time it was their turn for a spontaneous standing ovation! Susan from BLR got some shots of the crowd during this, and it was really gratifying. Fruvous came on and did Drinking Song as an encore, and at the beginning, Jian introduced it by saying "people traditionally sway along to this" which was kind of nice to hear "officially" as it were. non-Fruheads joined in the swaying, and they got another standing ovation at the end of the encore. We overheard people around us ooh-ing and ahh-ing, and felt quite proud and happy for the guys! (I really don't know what right WE have to feel proud, but I can't help it...) We stuck around for Trout Fishing in America, who were VERY good!! Love that song "My Hair Had a Party Last Night" - what album is that on??

After the show, as all went silent and people started packing up (at Philly they clear the field between the day shows and night mainstage), a dragon parade began, along with the booming apocalyptic strains of Carmina Burana - what a contrast!! But it scared folks enough that they packed and ran before the dragon could attack!

All in all, WOW!! What a weekend!! Friends, food, Fruvous, a birthday party, shooting stars, great music, squirt guns, sunscreen, massages... who could want more?! Thank you to everyone who shared this with me - it wouldn't be so great without you!!! It's been a great summer - hope to see you all again at shows this fall/winter/spring, but I also hope we can have these festivals again next summer - a whole new world has opened up to me, and I hope it's just a beginning! Take care!

From Chris Traugott:

Every morning should start with a bass solo. Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny, and as usual when I have a concert to go to I bounded out of bed and dragged everyone else out too. After much hustling, cajoling and finally begging everyone who was staying for day two of the festival got into the car and we sped over to the fairgrounds so I could see the work shop called Bass Off. Unfortunately I ended up missing most of Trout Fishing in America, but I did get to hear more Laura Love. Then hurried over to the tank stage to see the second Fruvous workshop which focussed on humor. The guys did a hilarious version of Blow Wind Blow; Dave's verse asked why the tank stage was called the tank stage when there were no armoured vehicles around, Jian sang about sleeping with Laura Love and Dan Bern (I think it was Dan Bern) followed by a muttered "I wish," and Murray's verse was a plea for coffee. We were treated to Marion Fruvous and Minnie the Moocher as well. Fruvous shared a stage with Joel Mabus (spelling?) whose song about medicine was especially apt considering Jian's raging cold.

Following that set the fruheads dispersed again, agreeing to meet up at 3:30 for a Summer of 97 photo opportunity (which drew quite a few stares when it happened, I guess it isn't often that folk festivals have thirty-odd people bunching together for group photos.) Zard and I wandered around, talked with a few fruheads we hadn't had a chance to talk much with earlier, bought cds and drinks, and wandered back to the tank stage to hear Herstory, a workshop of all women singers including Les Sampou and Suzy Roche. The women sang a beautiful version of People get Ready, which had the crowd swinging and swaying along with them.

Around about 3:30 the fruheads converged once again for the photograph, and then split to stake out preferred viewing/dancing spots. Laurie and I got into a water pistol fight with a bunch of power soaker packing youngsters and had fun chasing them around brandishing our gaudy yellow pistols. Before long we heard the fruvous sound check beginning and scooted to a place where we thought we could dance unobtrusively. Apparently we chose poorly because security made us move three times before we could dance in blissful oblivion without attracting the ire of the dreaded yellow shirts. The dancing group started out with Laurie, Zard and me, but we were soon joined by Craig, Rob, and tons of other folks who I had seen before and not met. By the end of the set, security had given up on trying to make us stay within the yellow lines (I felt like that car commercial where the voice over is of a preschool teacher admonishing "stay between the lines") and we were boogeying to Love Potion #9. The crowd response was great, when Fruvous finished their very short set (festival gripe, sorry) the audience was on it's feet. They guys came out for an encore, the Drinking Song, and Jian told the audience that it was kind of a traditional set ender for Fruvous and that folks often put their arms around one another and swayed to the music. He invited the crowd to do this and quite a few people did. Our group of dancers linked arms and shared a happy moment, and I think I saw Jian looking our way and smiling.

Trout Fishing in America followed Fruvous, so I finally got a chance to hear them, and then the festival sweepers came by; a long line of volunteers brandishing banners hung from ropes and literally sweeping festival goers off the grounds to the swelling strains of "Carmina Burana." Somewhere in the melee of folkies snatching up their blankets and personnel belongings, a paper tiger appeared,(easily 15 feet long and born on the shoulders of a dozen people,) and wended it's way through the crowd. Pretty surreal. Unfortunately, due to the sweepers and the rush to get everything packed up, the goodbyes among fruheads were hurried. I completely missed saying good bye to Jason and Victorria, and only managed a hurried hug with everyone else. We did hear that Fruvous sold out of cds and that the line to get autographs was long enough that they had to move it outside the festival grounds once the Trout Fishing set was over. Another PR coup! :-)

Despite a few unpleasant moments (like security people *everywhere,* I felt like I was in Germany or Switzerland) I had a wonderful time this weekend. Kind of a bittersweet event, as it is my last folk festival for the summer and I have no idea when I will get to see most of you wacky fruheads again; the shows I know about in Sept. and Oct. I'm probably going to have to miss. But it really was a fun festival and a great summer, I'm glad we have made the effort to get to know one another in person, and hope that we continue the trend when fruvous concerts move back in doors for the winter. Why, there was even talk of a fruhead reunion without the excuse of a concert! Now *there's* a thought! :-)

From the Philadelphia Folk Festival program (pg. 27):

Diversity has always been one of Moxy Fruvous' strongest calling cards. Hailing from Toronto, Mike Ford, Murray Foster, Jiam Ghomeshi and David Matheson are skilled songwriters and energetic performers who have been entertaining across Canada and the United States since their first release, Bargainville, in 1993. This spring saw the release of You Will Go to the Moon on Bottom Line Records. As those who have seen this band in action can attest, You Will Go to the Moon and back!

The Pictures

Click the description to get the pic:

Workshop - "Keep on the Funny Side"

The Set

Mainstage Performance

The Set Encore

Misc. Info

Some other tidbits from the performance include:

Back to the tour dates 1997 page