In Edmonton I was, for the first time on this trip, alone. I had no Drea to dance by my side and no Doug Levy to discuss the state of political affairs with. It was an interesting feeling as WestJet flung its way through the Alberta skies to the city that, until now, I had known only as The Other Alberta City. I disembarked from the airport, backpack in tow, and caught the shuttle service downtown to the new Edmonton International Hostel on 81st Avenue and 106th Street. The weather was sunny and *warm*, a welcome diversion from the gooey, sleety mess that had been Calgary.
The hostel is excellent. There are nice, large rooms. The washrooms are good. There's a reading room *and* a games room, complete with a huge mural map of the world on the wall, which you can even mark up with chalk. (That night, I made a nice big indication of where Saskatoon belongs in the world.) Seeing the graffiti from all across the world made me really feel like a global citizen. One-Worlders, take note: screw the Trilateral Commission, go after the hostels!
One block up from the hostel, on 82nd Avenue (also known as Whyte Avenue), is one of the main drags of the city. This area of Edmonton is known as Strathcona. It is full of trendy shops, neat restaurants, and bars. As well, everyone in Strathcona is more beautiful than you are. I wasted no time in asking at the hostel front desk how to get to a net cafe so that I could visit my friends in #m (and hello, y'all, again), but before I got there my hunger caught up with me and I had the most incredible quesadilla con pollo I've ever tasted, at a restaurant called Julio's Barrio. I almost regret not having tried the nacho plate, but chips just ain't the way I swing. While I was there, I sent a note to Gabby informing her that I'd be around, and giving a description of myself.
I'd arrived in Edmonton a day before the band did, so it behooved me to kill time. I also needed to buy tickets, so I returned to the hostel and asked for directions to the Sidetrack Cafe. Easy! Just go up 81st to 112th, turn right, find University Station, take the LRT to Corona, and then go to 104th and 112th! It might have been easier if I'd already figured out this navigational aid I give to you all as a present: everywhere I was in Edmonton, the street number of a building divided by 100 was the number of the cross street. 10646 81st Avenue is between 106th and 107th Streets. It only took me *four hours* to decipher this. Let nobody call me intelligent, lest mockery harms them not.
It is somewhat ominous that next to University Station, the U of Alberta urban rail stop, is a mall. It is even more ominous that the Hub Mall, which really *is* on campus, is extremely large and contains many stores I recognised.
I did, in fact, get a bit lost once I got out at Corona Station. I was also slightly creeped. Corona station is on Jasper Avenue, which is a six-lane throughway in the middle of town. It was a Sunday, and the streets were nearly empty with almost no pedestrian traffic. I felt vaguely isolated as I wandered. If civilization had ended during my walk up Jasper, I might not have been able to tell the difference.
The Sidetrack is nestled, somewhat confusingly, more on 112th Street than 104th Avenue. It is behind a Starbucks and looks somewhat like a train station. In fact, an actual train car has been made part of the decor in back! It's very cool. I purchased one ticket for the show the next night from (and I say this without reservation) the most beautiful waitress I have ever seen, and returned home to roost. I chatted a bit later with my roommates, two of whom were from British Columbia, and the third who was a tech support contract worker from England. (Have I mentioned yet that I love hostels?)
That night I decided to partake of a bit of Irish music, as I'd seen that O'Byrne's, a pub on Whyte, was having a band in and had no cover. I headed over and found a table on the second level, but was not impressed. The band was doing old traditional instrumentals, and I find I've been spoiled by bands like GBS and Spirit of the West. I did quaff a bit of Guinness before heading on my way, and retiring for the night.
(Fruvous? What's that? Hush, punkins, the show happens tomorrow.)
EDMONTON, DAY TWO
It was a beautiful day in Edmonton, again. I now knew exactly where I was going and had a ticket burning a hole in my pocket, so I decided to do something that I had been planning for weeks: I decided to dye my hair.
I wandered out onto Whyte and entered the first hair place I came across (yes, I know this may sometimes not be a survival strategy). Out came the color samples, where I picked what I felt was a nice, Tori Amos type shade. I discussed Edmonton and Saskatoon with the hairdresser as we waited for the dye to set. Though all of Edmonton may not live up to what I saw during my trip, it is safe to say that Strathcona is one of the most beautiful and rocking neighbourhoods I've ever seen. (And I only got about three blocks each way! I still have so much to explore!)
Best money I've ever not been able to afford to spend. With mane of red and heart of gold, I wandered back out into the world.
To the net cafe for a bit of chatter... I checked my mail and found that Gabby would indeed be at the show that night! Woohoo. Now I knew *one* person in Edmonton. I returned to the hostel to hang for a few hours, where I'd like to think I made some new friends - Tim from Melbourne and Rebecca from Vancouver.
At around 5pm, I took my sorry ass back up to the Sidetrack. I was shown to my table and saw that it wasn't that bad. The decor was mostly dark, stained, well-worn wood. A fireplace was in a corner opposite the stage, and the aforementioned train car was behind the stage as a dining area. But more importantly, there was a dance floor! Oh my very yes, I would not be at that table very long tonight at all. I wandered the Sidetrack for a bit and then spotted Dayna having a bit of supper with two other folks. I wandered over, introduced myself, and intruded upon their meal. :-) The other two folks were Perry, her sound man, and Brad, a Dayna fan who was at the show to see her. We had a bit of a discussion comparing Fruheads and Dayniacs.
I tooled around, taking in the decor, which is *really* nice (have I mentioned yet how impressed I am with the Sidetrack?). Later, I saw come in two women, one of whom was blonde, so I wandered over to ask "Excuse me, are you Gabby?" That could have gone poorly under the wrong circumstances, but it really was our favorite Edmontonian! I assure every single one of you that you are jealous of me for having met her. I shared setlists and a tale or two with her while waiting for a vegetarian pizza to arrive from the kitchen. The pizza was *very* neat and fine - a surprise to me, and another stereotype crumbling to dust, considering that I was in Alberta.
Dayna hit the stage about 20 minutes after the announced time (yes, I know you're all shocked that a Fruvous show could be behind schedule) and was her usual angelic self. Her voice had been steadily improving since Winnipeg where she was getting over the last traces of a cold, and tonight she was just incredible, all the way from the opening "Half the Man" to the close. She even played some piano! I've really gotten to liking her music, and will have a CD by the end of the tour. Call me a Dayniac, I guess.
Fruvous finally got onstage at about 11pm, with the Sahara extended mix that we have all grown to love. I needed it! Two days without it in Calgary had left me a hollow, empty shell of a man, even if I did get to quaff like a Viking at the Dalhousie Community Centre. Gabby and I were at the side of the stage, blissing out to the sound of doumbek.
After Sahara they cut into Jockey and BJ. Jian wandered around the stage for a few seconds before they cut into Video Bargainville - and he explained later that the reason he was doing so is that he had forgotten some of the lyrics. :-) He could only sing if he wasn't thinking about it - sort of like being nineteen years old and delaying orgasm. They cut into a peppy little delayed-orgasm improv at that point, and asked those of us reviewing to erase VB from the review.
Er, what I meant to say for that last paragraph was, "After finishing BJ, they sang a song about dessert flambe entitled After Dinner Emotion. I really wish they'd done Video Bargainville that night."
Jian noted (as had I) that the waitstaff at the Sidetrack Cafe was incredibly good-looking. It might have been, he opined, a result of the Alberta eugenics program of the 1940s. A quick improv about the waitstaff left me on the floor giggling. Horseshoes, an improv about the vernal equinox, Sad Girl, and Pisco followed. Everyone appears to give Pisco and Sad great response on the tour so far.
For some reason, the groove barrier broke for me during Pisco. I lost all inhibition on the dance floor, and felt myself moving a lot more freely. It was so damn cool. :-)
Post-Pisco, Dave mentioned that they were planning on growing gills so that they could hold the all-aquatic show they'd been discussing. "There's good money in those fish conventions," Murray agreed.
Who knows what pay equity *won't* be bringing from dear old boss?
Moon and Boo followed ("Don't get bushwhacked/ you wanna get sidetracked"), then Kids, Fly, Michysauce and Message. Next was that damn-fast-and-furious Kingreenauthorcar mix I love so well, even if my Pilot doesn't.... Potion closed the set.
The crowd was full of energy still, and a rousing roar of applause brought Our Heroes back out for Psycho Killer... and out *again* for Drinking. What a fine experience.
I got back to the hostel and had to stay awake until 5am, because I dared not sleep and miss the airport shuttle for my flight to Kelowna. But that's a tale for another post.....
I went to the Fruvous show on Monday with only three things on my mind:
1. Gee, I hope they play the Kid's Song.
2. Gee, I hope they play Michigan Militia.
3. Gee, I hope I meet some interesting people who are as crazy about Moxy Fruvous as I am.
I was not disappointed :-).
I arrived at the Sidetrack Cafe around 7, and was met by Doug Sheppard, the first of many nice people I would meet over the course of the evening. I was glad to have someone to talk to, as two of my friends ad stood me up at the last minute (10:30 Monday night isn't the vest time to plan any major events :-\.). But anyway...Doug introduced me to Tobey (sp?), and I was given a Frumiles card, which now has a stamp on it. I feel so *official* :-)! I also bought a poster, and the "Canadian Boys" T-Shirt. I love the shirt already; I've worn it twice and have already gotten all sorts of interesting comments about it...
At 9:30 or so, Danya Manning took to the stage. She had a great voice, but I thought that most of her songs were quite forgettable. That being said, she was very funny, and had a good stage presence.
Around 11:15, the stagelights changed, and Doug and I scurried up to the front of the stage. A single haunting keyboard note resonated through the cafe, and I knew I was in for a treat- it was the...
-EXTENDED SAHARA--Incredible! Everything that has been said about it on this newsgroup is true. I could have spent all night listening to it. Eventually, of course, they moved on to another favorite of mine-
-Mike added in the verse about the "yellow sheets on a Hong Kong bed".
-B.J--Good stuff- I liked this song better live than I ever have on CD.
--At this point, the music stopped and the talking began. The first words out of Jian's mouth were "Goddamn!", followed by an enthusiastic "Shit!". My first thought was, "OK, *someone's* not feeling particularily articulate this evening." But Jian quickly followed up his greeting by saying how beautiful all the waiters and waitresses at the club were. Jian: In fact, I'm thinking of filing a lawsuit. Discrimination! You guys better hire some ugly people, and hire them fast!
--Mike thanked everyone for coming out on a Monday night. This somehow led to an impromptu bit about being 19 and not wanting "to come" (yes, let your mind wander...). Jian said that everyone knew what he was talking about, when you're 19 years old and you just *wannit*. Murray: Um, I think this basically applies to 19-year-old guys.
--Another highlight? A long tease of Blur's "Song Number 2". (I'm pretty sure that's what it's called; you know, the one that goes, "Whoohooo!...........Whoohoooo!.....)
--VIDEO BARGAINVILLE--Now, I've sensed a few negative vibes about this song coming from my fellow ng-ers. But speaking as a person who only gets to see Moxy once a year if she's lucky, I'm hardly going to complain. No, it's not my favorite song, but it's fun to shout "Pissed off the video man!" at the top of your lungs :-).
--By this time some audience members had ventured to the dance area where Doug and I were. The crowd was mostly 20-somethings, with a few older couples as well. It was a fairly good crowd, besides a few incidents I will mention later on...
--After VIDEO, Jian said that he had actually forgotten the lyrics before singing them. The key, he figured, was not to think about the words, then it's easy to remember them. The minute you conciously think about what the lyrics are, you're screwed. Mike suggested some alternative lyrics, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death... :-).
--HORSESHOES-- Gasp! My *favorite* Moxy song!! I enjoyed it thoroughly, despite the noise generated by the crowd at crucial moments in the song. (All those in favour of the quiet "Look straight at the coming disaster" part actually being *quiet*, raise your hands. Thank you.)
--SAD GIRL--Beautiful! My favorite "new song" so far. I had tears in my eyes. Wonderful lyrics, the song definately had a special meaning for me. Jian, if you're reading this, thank you so much for a very touching, meaningful moment!
--PISCO BANDITO-- the crowd went wild for this one. I don't remember much about it. I'm sure I liked it, vut it didn't really stick out for me.
--I LOVE MY BOSS-- always fun! Standard Thornhill intro.\ Jian: This is a song many of you will relate to....actually, you probably won't :-).
--YWGTTM-- Yay! I was hoping they'd stick this one in somewhere. I'm a big fan of songs in which Dave takes the lead (I realize that's kind of a broad statement, but it's true.)
--BOO TIME-- Wow! Good audience participation for this one. I had a great time during it, as it was my first time seeing this one live. Here's the middle part, according to the setlist:
Feelin' Bushwacked, Happily Sidetracked, Boxer Gerta, Hey Alberta, Princess Xena, Manning Danya, Here to Albania, Manning Mania- Smoke a little Boo with the Fruvous crew, x4.
--The black hats went away, and Jian started talking about the political problems facing our society. He said it was a shame there was so much tension between Canada's two founding nations: the English and the Cree :-). (I thought this was hilarious, and started to clap loudly. He responded by looking out into the crowd and saying, "Um, yeah, thanks for applauding my lame joke :-)". Anyway such an intro could only mean one thing-
--THE KID'S SONG--Sure, the song sounds great on the album, but seeing it live truely brings it, well, to life (how's that for an obvious statement?). I love the three gender biases :-).
--FLY-- I sat down by the speakers for this one, and let the song "wash over me". Nice moment.
--After FLY, the crowd started to get restless. One lone cry for the King of Spain quickly multiplied into a number of sorry individuals crying out for "THE KING OF SPAIN" as loudly as they could. I was interested to see how the boys would deal with it. Jian looked at a couple in the front with a perfect look of condescendance mixed with exasperation, and said quietly, "Umm...yeah, don't worry, we'll get to that...Just be patient." At that moment I felt really bad for the guys. Then Jian went on to say that lately they had been playing a lot in the U.S, where the audiences actually knew and liked them for more than one song. Ouch. These may not have been *quite* his words, sorry Jian, if I've misquoted you. But his comment certainly had a stinging edge to it, and I felt it was quite appropriate. But no matter, because up came the...
--MICHIGAN MILITIA-- My Lord, I'm still grinning over this one :-)!! Horseshoes may be my favorite Fruvous song, but Michi comes in a very close second.
--The guys start talking about the pro-food movement, and I knew we were in for..
--JPHNNY SAUCEP'N-- Doug and I sang along for this one, of course. It was so much fun singing it with someone else who actually knows all the words! [After all, Doug is the first Fruhead I've ever met, and hopefully not the last :-).]
--MESSAGE--Wonderful!! The sound was great, except for a few inebriated individuals who thought it would be hilarious to talk really loudly whenever there was a quiet beat (it wasn't).
--Next up, the famous (infamous?) KING OF SPAIN!-- Highlights? Dave: Now, some of you might be wondering how I came to be working in North America at all of these shit jobs... :-). --"There's a hat on your head..." "I love you King!" --King segued into what I am assuming was-
--GREEN EGGS AND HAM-- (Short version). Jian: Hey, not the Beatles, this is Alberta, they all have guns. --Mike said something really funny about Dave not liking some of the lyrics to "Get Back". I wish I remembered exactly what he said...any ideas, Doug?
--MBLABOA-- Not my favorite Moxy song, but they could have played an hour long tribute to Yanni, and I wouldn't have complained :-).
--GET IN THE CAR-- Yay, *another* Dave song :-)! It sounded even better than it does on CD- much more energetic!
--LOVE POTION MEDLEY-- My first instinct was to laugh, because I had been singing the title song with some friends in my English class that afternoon. Great collection of songs- and I loved the Jewel part :-)!!
--They left the stage briefly, then came back and launched into...
--PSYCHO KILLER-- I cannot tell you how much I love this song- it sends chills down my spine! Mike threw me off guard by singing one of the middle lines in English! Then, last but not least...
--THE DRINKING SONG-- Beautiful moment. I sang along proudly, as did a surpizing number of others in the audience.
After the show I talked to a couple of cool people (Hello to Jenny and Amy, if you're out there...). Then I got to meet Jian!! Of course, I couldn't think of anything intelligant to say. Jian thought that we had met before and I assured him that no, I would have remembered if we had! He signed my YWGTTM CD, and I got a picture taken with him!
I hung around for a bit longer, hoping that maybe the others would come out for a while. Someone told me that they wouldn't be making an appearance, since they had to leave for Salmon Arm in about 5 hours. I left then, and later regretted not waiting longer. I would have *loved* to meet Dave, I have some musical things I'd like to be able to talk to him about...oh well, another time, I suppose.
Congratulations, you've made it to the end of my review! Thank you, Moxy, for venturing out to Edmonton. Don't hesitate to drop by again!
Krista (Known as Gabby to fellow ammf users...)
Some other tidbits from the performance include: