Live Show: 7/15/98


Portland, ME

Reviewed by: Colleen Campbell

The Details

What Fruvous does when they think we're not looking!

I always say I'm going to keep these briefer than they turn out, 'cause I'm such a babblebox, but in this case I really do need to be fairly short & sweet (and in person, I fail on both counts, as I'm tall & a smartass) 'cause I've got two Boston concerts scheduled tonight! So:

This was one of the weirder Fruvous gigs I've ever attended: it was announced only a week or so ago, and as such was very sparsely attended. There were maybe 40-45 people in that room, including 4 a.m.m-f Fruheads (me, Veek, Sharon, and Moz), and for much of it, we were the only ones who ventured onto the floor--the rest hovered at the periphery. The opener, Eggbot Wet-nap, distinguished themselves by skyrocketing to the top of my list of "really totally uselessly sucky performers"--I am *not* exaggerating when I say that at least a dozen people left early because of them: we watched them go, muttering that they couldn't take the music. Heh. Moz described them best, and I'll cop it: "synth-punk," and interminable as such.

That didn't stop Fruvous from lauding them by "covering" one of the tunes, something about a date with a porcelain angel, after the first two songs. They an improv on it, as well as working references to them into "Boo Time", and Eggbot was delighted.

So, to skip forward to the show: I finally figured out why Fruvous is consistently late: they run on Canadian time, which is 1.3 hours to every American hour. *grin* This one started at 11:15, ensuring that I would fall asleep at the wheel on the road home (which I did, yeesh). Was it worth it? Indeed--and to my surprise, actually. With that small a crowd, I was bracing myself for a lackluster show (well, insofar as Fruvous can give one). Wrongo! The setlist alone was plenty enough to ensure that it would be a kickass show:

Sahara (extended jam)
Sad Girl
Pisco Bandito
Boss (supposed to be Moon, but they wanted to go bounce around amongst
the crowd, who loved it)
Boo Time
Mistra Know-It-All (yes!!)
I Will Hold On
River Valley
Michigan Militia
Present Tense
Message to You
Psycho Killer
E: Dancing Queen
    Drinking Song

Throw in half a dozen improvs--my favorite of which was a hilarious rap, Jian doing the funky breathing thing into the mic, Murray on drums--and you've got a show that verged on 2 hours. And the crowd really got into it! They were doing the call & response on "Boo Time," laughing at the funny stuff; they just weren't crowding onto the dance floor. It was a terrific show, high energy--Veek can attest how I erp!ed when I saw Cal setting up the doumbec to start for "Sahara" (I am *so* taken with that song). "Mistra Know-It-All" was a huge, unexpected treat, and "Pisco Bandito" was worth the trip all by itself: it was my first hearing, and it's the first of the new songs that has seemed to gel completely, for me. Was great seeing Dave on bass and Jian & Murray on the guitars, too--if it had been my first time seeing the band, I certainly wouldn't have known those weren't their instruments of choice! I liked "I Will Hold On" better than the first time I heard it, and as I mentioned to Jian afterwards, it struck me that if they tweaked it a little bit, it would remind me very much of an XTC-type song. And "Johnny" was, as it's been noted lately, up-tempo; amazing the lads can breathe after that!

Agh, if I hadn't been so exhausted last night (i.e., when I got in at 3:30) and had written it then, I would remember more of this stuff. Notes on the show, though, hmmm. .. Well, I've never heard the bass quite that loud: my sternum was vibrating along with it during much of the show. I rather liked it, though. Chris Traugott would have been whimpering. *laugh* The guys were in great voice--I noticed especially during "Boss," when I was reminded of just how much their voices have developed in the time I've been listening to them. They were dialoguing a lot with the crowd, especially discussing the World Cup (and doing their impression of the French nonchalance over the fact that, apparently, the Russian national anthem was played instead of their own song; I for one wouldn't know), talking about the wall in their dressing room (remarkably scatological, it seems), noting the similarities between Maine and Canada (beautiful, less populated, with pot readily available). I was also impressed with how--not to sound dorky, but--*healthy* the guys seemed. Well, this whole tour, really, but it strikes me afresh each time I see them: been eating their Wheaties more consistently than they did last year. (And Mike looked very young, sans beard & with short hair.)

So! There ya go. And here I go--off on the quest to wear out my eardrums by age 30, seeing BARK like a dog and Jim's Big Ego in quick succession!

The Pictures

Click the description to get the pic:

The Music

Opened with The Set Closed with Encore 1 Encore 2

Misc. Info

Some other tidbits from the performance include:

Back to the tour dates 1998 page