Live Show: 11/29/97


Cincinnati, OH

Reviewed by: Jaseawall, Shawn Harkness & Josh Woodward

The Details

A band called "To the Moon Alice" opened...not bad at all. Vocalist Leslie Mills has a wonderful (and powerful) voice, although the dress she wore made one wonder about her fashion sense. Lead guitarist Brent Morgan was very fast and sort of Garcia-like (but why is it that guitarists in the heat of a solo hang their mouths open?). All in all, a very worthwhile band:

After a relatively short break, the band came on (somebody PLEASE have them change the annoying music they take the stage to; or perhaps, it's to make them sound better).

From Dave's Heineken-soaked set list:

(see below)

The setlist had a song "Allison" listed after "Drinking"...anyone know what this means? Whatever it is, they ran out of time to play it in, or maybe this was the song they played prior to Raja (???)

From Shawn Harkness:

I've waited too long, the reviews are already up. Guess I'll just add my couple of cents.

I was one of apparently many who made the journey from the Toddlin' Town of Chicago down to Cincinnati. I recognized a few faces. (BTW- glad to hear Jenny Coneff got a ride, since I never heard back on my emails) Made it there in plenty of time at a speedy 4 1/2 hour drive, and even remembered the time change. Armed with a map and an address for Top Cats, I found my way there by 8.

After a quick bite to eat, there were already about 40 people in line a half hour before doors opened. Dave, then Mike and Murray poked outside to say hello to a crowd that soon stretched for almost a whole block. I brought a copy of the Trib's review of the Thursday show, and Mike & Murray said they already saw it, and the only thing they complained about was the photo cropped out thier legs, and they really wanted to see their pants.

Once inside, it was straight to Marcus for the big stamp #12. Then I went to the bar for a drink. I could have met someone, gotten married, raised a kid, and then legally bought them a drink by the time I was served.

To the Moon, Alice played a good opening set. The crowd didn't seem too responsive, even when the singer said she grew up in Cincy. (She also said they were out of Woodstock, NY... which has a great radio station WDST 99.1 Give it a listen if you happen to be between Albany and NYC)

Fruvous played a set relaitively low on local chatter. And yes, the sound did suck. No other way to put it. But the highlight was when the accordian mics died. Since I happened to be right by Dave, I heard the Top Cat's sound guy (not Cal) say "Just play the accordian louder." I almost died laughing at the sound of it.

We also were treated to an impromptu version of "Oliver's Army" by the King of Rock & Roll. Another highlight was "Stuck in the 90s" They played it thursday in Chicago, but that was the first time I heard them do it since my very first, pre-frucard show June 1996 at Bogies in Albany. Glad to hear it making a "comeback"

I was kind of suprised with the 3rd encore of "The Drinking Song" to be perfectly honest, the crowd wasn't super-hyper enthusiastic for it. Don't get me wrong, it was great. I'm bringing this up to prompt some discussion, not complain. With most bands now playing an encore, and more and more playing 2 encores, will we soon expect 3 to be the norm? And what's the point of 3 encores? How do the audience and the band express when a show isn't just good, isn't just great, but phenominal?

Boy, I rambled on even more in this post than the last one. Guess I really do need a hobby.

From Josh Woodward:

After an invigorating night's sleep in the back of my truck, I checked out the town a bit more and picked up Jenny for the big ol' drive to Cinci. Once there, we grabbed some pizza and met up with the ever-growing army of Bowling Green Fruheads. The line outside about a half hour before the doors opened was impressive to say the least. The show they played at Top Cats this summer was fairly sparce at first -- not this time, though. They did have an opening act this time -- a Woodstock NY group called "To The Moon Alice". Their style really makes me think of the Dead very often. A good, Natalie Merchant style singer complimented by one of the best lead guitarists I've seen. They played an acoustic set, then made room for Fruvous.

Our lads took the stage a little before midnight. Message > Poor Mary kicked off the set. Right off, I noticed the subpar sound quality of the club's system. Very high mids, just not a fat sound. At any rate, It's Too Cold was next, ironic because the club was very hot (as it was in Chicago the night before). A good, standard Kids Song was next. I wasn't ready for what followed - Stuck in the '90s. Has this been played this tour outside of Merc Lounge? A nice suprise, I guess. Out comes the banjo for Michigan Militia, Present Tense Tureen, and Johnny Saucep'n. The typical "Who has/Who wants/Who will cheer for a stereo that rocks?" introduced Lazy Boy. The hats went on, and supercool as always - jazzy Boo Time. Kick in the Ass was next, and was the best version I'd seen thus far. Murray in particular was right on, including his ending "gi-normous kick in the ass". WLUV was fairly flubbed, but it made it seem better and unique to me. WLUV>Shit were plagued with a horrible, randomly occuring hissy sound. Fell in Love was next, dedicated to my friend Jess and her new fiance. :) Unfortunately, it was a really stinky version to the fault of the sound system -- the loud periodic static started up in the middle again and completely destroyed their concentration.

Mike commented that not enough people were buying vinyl these days, and that the static was their attempt to recreate the experience of listening to an old, mildewed vinyl record. While troubleshooting the problem, Jian popped open the paper and talked about some entertainment article which I'd read before the show, but I still can't remember what it was about. They finally narrowed the sound problems down to ugliness in the phantom power to Dave's accordion mics. While they set up a Shure SM57 for it, Jian pops up the idea of playing a song from their old band's era - the Chia Pets. I almost don't want to post what song they played, for fear of avid Elvis Costello fans killing themselves for missing this show, but they played a wonderful, perfect, great, and kickass cover of Oliver's Army with Mike on lead. My favorite 5 minutes of the weekend by far.

So, on they went with No No Raja. The show really picked up in energy around this point. Next was instrumental Spiderman>Jockey. After this, some very annoying drunken fratboy type starts screaming "SPIDERMAN!!! SPIDERMAAAAN!!" over and over between every song and often during songs. Grrr. Video was next on the setlist, but Jian decided not to do it (most likely because of the fear of losing the big energy thing going on). They launch into King of Spain (intro: "Once I was the King of Spain.." half of audience in unison: "now I eat humble pie" band: cracking up), which segued into the old (well, new -- short anyway) version of Green Eggs. Get In The Car kept the audience pumped, and Psycho Killer left the audience in a frenzy for the end of the set.

Encore 1 brought us Love Potion #9. Very cool. Encore 2 was Fly (great), and Authors (I didn't have the energy at this point to enjoy it). They take off, and once again.. guess what! The audience wasn't through just yet. Minutes of screaming and stomping finally brought the guys out for encore number 3, a GREAT Drinking Song. Many times more enjoyable than the last Chicago one. It's great to see audiences honestly liking the show enough to ask for a 3rd encore. Twice in a row.

Overall impressions. The show was exceedingly chaotic, even moreso than the last Chicago show. This made it very interesting for the Fruheads, and only a couple times (notably Fell In Love and other sound problems) detracted from the quality of the show. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I really dislike Top Cats as a Fruvous venue. Bad sound, many venue-specific equipment problems, and once again, they had the TV's going during the show. Even Jian, known for kissing ass of the bars they play, had a few "ha-ha only serious" comments, as did Dave. Maybe next tour they'll schedule a nice show at Canal Street in Dayton instead of Top Cats!

Lots of people stayed around after the show to chat with the band, so we took off a little early. Jenny and the Bowling Green crew drove to our crash space, tried to stay awake while watching Face Off, and woke up early for our respective drives home. As an added bonus, I somehow completely lost my voice around the time I made it home. Looks like this may be it until New Years' Eve for us. A month and a day.. so far away.

Jian's (corrected) Setlist:

(Oliver's Army)
VIDEO (didn't play)
Fly - Author
D? Alison?  (played D)

The Pictures

Click the description to get the pic:

The Music

Opened with The Set Closed with Encore 1 Encore 2 Encore 3

Misc. Info

Some other tidbits from the performance include:

Back to the tour dates 1997 page