Live Show: 11/14/98


Katonah, NY

Reviewed by: Caroline, Lori, Steve & FruWench

The Details

Hey everyone! Just wanted to say that the Katonah show was GREAT - I'm so glad it came together. Our little FruVan NoHo (or, as Beth likes to call it, NoHa) made it to the Harvey School without too many wrong turns. (By the way, for those of you as bad with names as I am, the Smith girls are Caroline (that's me, with the short-short hair), Beth, Julie, and Katie.) We're so glad we got to meet a bunch of you - I can finally put a few names with faces! (And the others are now begging me to help them subscribe to the ng! bwah ha ha...)

BTW, I loved Jian's "I dig your boyfriend" t-shirt. I can think of several friends (female AND male) who I'd love to give one of those too...

I won't try to rewrite Lori's excellent review, but I'll do a little short version of my own. I did write down a set list, which is as follows (in correct order!):

Gotta Get a Message to You
BJ Don't Cry (with an "Ashley Judd's son/save the goddamn Hudson" line
thrown in)
I Love My Boss
Jian talking about the Clinton fiasco - "What he *should* be impeached for
is the lie he's perpetuated: that he's a liberal."
Stuck in the 90s
Minnie the Moocher ("Time to focus on Chelsea/I think she's a lesbian hooker")
at the end of this, everyone slowed down and stopped playing except Jian,
who quipped, "Energizer!"  (does he usually do this and i'm showing my
newness by writing that?)
"Towels from Home" spoken thingy - was this improv? 
Early Morning Rain (can i tell you how much i LOVE the Fruharmonies on this
Pisco Bandito
Murray's "Wouldn't we all like to have our own little Yoda?" speech
Present Tense Tureen
Johnny Saucep'n
Jian: "I just wanted to remark about the nice gentleman, I think it was
Mike, who introduced us by calling our stuff junk. Whatever. I'm sure his
music is great too."
Mike morphing into Lou Reed - lol
Dancing Queen! woo hoo!
MBLABOA - "My baby's hooked on/my crucifixion" - Murr
River Valley
Michigan Militia
YWGTTM (preceded by the usual NASA/John Glenn banter)
Murray: "we've been performing this song live for a year and a half now,
and it's only now that i've realized the parallel between the moon and
dave's cranium."
Jian (after mentioning the live album to minimal applause, commenting on
that, and getting cheers): "Sure, clap for the band that didn't get the
claps the first time."
I Will Hold On - i think this is my new favorite. is an album version in
Jian: "Tonight we're outing ourselves."
Ballad of Marion Fruvous (do they always do that "Master of the House"
thing? that was wonderful!)
Jian's intro to... you guess which song:
Ji:  "We here at moxy fruvous are a deeply, fervently religious group.
That's right... And what those of you who have not seen us live before do
not know is that our prophet, our religious leader, our Allah-" 
murr: "Allah"
jian: "i can say that, not you."
murr: "sorry."
jian: "He sometimes comes onstage.
       Is it Jesus Christ?"  crowd: "No!"  
      "Is it Mohammed?"             "No!"
      "Is it Baha'i-la?"            "No!"
murr: "Who's that?"
ji:   "If you'd ever heard of the Baha'i religion, you'd know.
       Is it the Buddha?"           "No!"
of course, it was... King of Spain! (everyone jumped up and danced at this
Green Eggs & Ham (my first time hearing it!!)
Love Potion #9

At this point we Smithies shoved the brownies we'd made up onto the stage.
The guys noticed them by their feet when they came back for the encore, and
thanked us. So that made it worth the trouble of baking (and having to go
back to the grocery store twice for ingredients we forgot ). Besides, I
made Jian give me a brownie before he left - hey, I was starving.

encore: Gulf War Song. of course the fruvirgins laughed at the funny lines,
but we in front were just sitting reverently. 

Ok, enough review. I'd just like to mention that after the show, when ALL the guys came out and talked to us (thanks guys!), and an amusing little dialogue occurred...

us: don't forget the brownies!
dave: are they... "special" brownies?
katie: yeah, they have chocolate chips!

of course she was joking. we didn't want them to feel like they weren't special... ;)

the next day on our way home, we stopped to buy more Fruvous CDs and bought out two stores (ok, we left them a copy or two). We were also inspired to broaden our musical horizons: I bought a Gordon Lightfoot CD and we debated buying others (Vance Gilbert, etc) but decided we were already coughing up enough money among the four of us to fuel the corporate monopolies (we tried the independent store, but they didn't carry it :( ). Sorry! If we'd had more time we would've asked them to order it, but we needed our Frucraving satisfied before we left town. ;)

well, that's enough out of me!

From Lori:

Now where exactly do I begin?

I guess the beginning would be good.

Jennifer (a/k/a ladywench) arrived at my house Friday evening, having met me two nights before and having talked with me for oh, maybe all of about ten minutes. She parked Milady de Beast on the back lawn, was scared by/scared my cat, regaled me with the details of truffle confectionery and causing Murray to sugar-crash, and was quite a sport in helping 10-year-old Andrew deliver food drive bags to the entire street, all before Steve got home from work.

And that, I was to learn, was just a bare-bones preview.

By 7:30 we set off for the wilds of New York State, with Steve driving, Andrew trying to play in the front seat, and Jen and I ensconced in the back, talking. And i do mean *talking*. As in nonstop. 4 hours. Probably the shortest conscious (well, relatively speaking) 4 hours of my life.

When my little nuclear family had demanded to know who this Jennifer person was, other than a Fruhead, I had explained that she made truffles, wrote inventive and amusing religious treatises, and seemed rather, well, shy. Hmmmm. As Meatloaf sez, two outta three ain't bad.

Steve, Andrew and I heard many many many many things on the way to Poughkeepsie, all of them hilarious, involving mehndi, Fruvous, cars, Fruvous, DuPont, Fruvous, old boyfriends, Fruvous, medieval re-enactments, Fruvous, and then a few things about Fruvous. By the time we got to Steve's mom's house, the voice I had begun losing on Thursday was reduced to helpless squeaks, and I hadn't even talked that much -- just laughed.

Saturday morning was sunny, warm, and fairly calm. We talked, even about nonFru things, such as the possible Scots origins of Canadian curling. (Jen was much intrigued with our account of this unique blend of housekeeping and horseshoes.) By noonish Jen and I were both bouncing off the walls, agitating to get to Katonah. Steve, his brother Bruce, and I already had our tix in hand, but she had overnighted for hers and was itching to get her hands on it. We left the house around two o'clock, and by three Jen and I had succeeded in making Bruce, a Frugin, a little wary. (My assimilation tape had warmed him up a little, but he wasn't quite convinced about this band he hadn't heard of except from us, and now he was surrounded by these two jabbering blonds. Probably would scare me too )

At 3:10 we found ourselves in the "hamlet" of Katonah, and a few minutes later saw a sign for the Harvey School, but the driveway led to what looked like a skating rink. Hmmm, we thought. But the mileage was a little off, so we kept driving, and eventually found a driveway that led up a hill, around a curve, over a river and through some woods to grandmothers .... no, to a dormitory, and little signs pointing the way to "coffee house". We located said coffee house, parked around back, and walked into what we thought was the concert venue only to find that it was the cafeteria. The nice people there, who were setting up chairs for a chorus practice, directed us to the proper door, and Jen found her ticket waiting for her. We wandered into the auditorium to check out the stage, and another nice man at the door asked us what was it about this band that inspired such an outpouring of loyalty, and such willingness to travel great distances to see them.

Jen gave one exuberant explanation, I another (it was like the "tastes great/less filling" commercial, but more manic) and for the second time that afternoon I saw fear in a novice's eyes. Somehow we managed to contain ourselves, said something along the lines of "you'll see", and scampered away to check out our preferred seats stage Murray. We asked if we could put our coats there, but were gently ushered away by the volunteers (who also gently declined our offer to help with the prep work.) It was now about 3:30.

Back at the ticket table I asked if I could buy Vance Gilbert tickets in advance, and happily walked away with two. We hooked up again with Steve and Bruce, found Mosh (who for some bizarre reason I persisted in calling Chris all night) and decided to go into town for some food. Found a coffee shop whose semi-permanent artist is Sloan Wainwright (Loudon's sister) and amused the staff somewhat, but were disappointed that they sold no eclairs. When a train came in at the station across the street the coffee shop grew crowded, and we decided to head back to the Harvey School, hoping the Frubus had arrived.

It wasn't there yet, and the 3 restless guys decided to go back into town for some beer. Jen and I camped out on the back lawn, with a strategic view of the back entrances to the auditorium, and again she told stories of Frugigs, Frutrips and Fruheads while I giggled, my voice deteriorating with each of her tales. (Umm, Chrissy, Michelle, Drea? We *must* get together sometime! :) ) We got more funny looks from two people walking by, one of whom said to the other "I think they're Fruheads" (giggle) The guys came back, and Jen and I wandered out front where we found Joni, June and Mike. We decided to go get the guys and stand in line, and when we wandered around to get them the Frubus was finally pulling in.

Out front again (we were putting on some serious walking mileage!) we found Kimberly, Kris and Gordon guarding the door, and as we all chatted Bruce started looking like he thought this might be fun. Lizzie showed up with her dad, and Caroline with her converts from Smith, and we started calling down the line, welcoming the newcomers. The volunteers were going in and out, and we could see action on the stage, but couldn't hear anything. As seven o'clock neared we got noisier, and the volunteers were grinning warily at us as they passed, opened the door to tell us it would be a little while longer, or watched us through the door.

Someone issued a challenge to all newcomers to sing a line of Saucep'n in order to gain admission to the concert, and as they tried gamely Jen took out her tin whistle and started playing. A chorus ensued, after which she promptly replaced the C whistle with a G and played as fast as she could. Much applause, and then a twenty-voice rendition of Gulf War Song, followed by Michael Row the Boat Ashore. We were quite giddy with antissssipation, and were absoloutely having a ball.

Finally the doors opened, and we dashed in to grab our coveted seats, then back out to get our Frumiles stamped, then in to chatter, then out to buy bumper stickers from the much-amused Tobey, then in the chatter some more, then out for refreshments (free apples! big ones!) Finally we all sat in a row: Jen, Bruce, me, Steve, Mosh, the Smith girls. We nattered about who would go for which setlist. We watched Cal tape down all the stuff. I got a great closeup shot of Dave's banjo. We commented on the biggest prop table we'd ever seen at a Fruvous gig.

And then we saw the backdrop.

The Clearwater Coffeehouse is named for a ship, the Clearwater, which is the working symbol of a pet project of Pete Seeger's. The foundation's focus is cleaning up, and keeping clean, the Hudson river valley, and so on the mural behind the stage was a picture of the Clearwater, centered with a banjo-playing minstrel on one side, and a mermaid on the other.

The mermaid was holding a broom.

And Jen observed, "look, that mermaid is curling."

And that was when we all knew it was going to be That Kind of Night.

The Lads. Oh, yes, we were there for the Lads. And they finally took the stage at about 8:30, after the emcee of the evening did quite an entertaining job of introducing the coffeehouse and announcing that it had merch to sell, while blithely and unintentionally dissing the Lads' own "junk". (At which Jen yelled, and I squeeked, "Not junk! Stuff! Quality stuff!")

the first set (in some semblance of the correct order)

Early Morning Rain --  ooooooooh!
Boss -- the Westchester audience of "rich people -- you *are* the bosses"
           loved this, and Ji was superbly reluctant at the end.  The song
           one of my favorites, but this version really worked.
Spidey -- Mike was springing all over the place, leaped into audience
              tried to toss his sweatshirt over Jason Reiser's equipment but 
             Jason snagged it.
Stuck in the '90's -- with Pataki ref.
Minnie (d'Amato ref; something "Giuliani's son/clean up the damn 
             Hudson"; Chelsea Clinton line)
Pisco   (Jen taught the front row the Pisco Dance)
Tureen  (started with reference to Luke Skywalker and Yoda, "everyone
            ought to have a little Yoda"; Murr and Ji got silly with that one
Dancing Queen medley

During the 1st set Jian, in Boyfriend shirt, ragged on the emcee for calling Fruvous merch "junk", then told us how the band had gotten way lost trying to find the venue, finally had found the rink and felt quite at home, but when Jian went inside to enquire about the "coffee house" on the mistaken impression that everybody knew what such a thing was, he was told "oh, you must mean the snack bar." They also launched into "towels from home," as it was quite hot in the auditorium.

Between sets, while Jen, Steve and I tried to figure out how to draw the Lads' attention to the curling mermaid, the emcee came back and explained that no, he didn't mean junk, he meant j-u-n-q-u-e, an entirely better class of stuff. When the Lads came back onstage he bestowed fluorescent pink Clearwater t-shirts on them. (Now they can all look like homicidal flamingoes :) )

the second set: (again, approximate order)

River Valley
I Will Hold On --- I love love love love love this song
Marion Fruvous -- Fruvous defined by Murray as the steel support structure
                          supporting the auditorium roof.  
                          Regarding Part The First: Ji: "the legend -- which
                          Canadian schoolchild learns in grade three --
                          grade*"  (sneer)
                          Murrman, getting ready to  recite:  "Yes, I repeated
                          every day for two years.  I can feel the welts
rising on
                          my ass....."   Then, assuming literary declaiming
                          "Wait ... for ... this."

Love Potion Medley

lots of people were up dancing by the end, even though the space between rows was very narrow. As they were running late and the coffeehouse people had to close up, the single encore was

Gulf War Song

which again held the entire audience enthralled and silent at the end. I can't *believe* I heard this song twice in one week.

Once the lads were offstage we sat around in FruBliss for a few minutes. Bruce's comment on his FruDeflowering was "I've had fun at concerts before, but I've never been to one where I laughed through the whole thing!" I think that means it was good for him too. :)

After overzealously putting away more of the folding chairs than the coffeehouse people wanted put away we headed out to the lobby, where all of the Lads were being really gregarious. I couldn't talk to them much because I had absolutely *no* voice, but they seemed *so* relaxed now that the tour's finally over. We hung out kibbitzing for a bit, then took off with Mosh to find a foodery, but no such luck. So he took off for points south, and we found a diner an hour later.

We were still totally charged up, and the waitress seemed utterly amused by us. But the utter highlight of the meal was Jen's discovery on the menu of a concoction of french fries, gravy, and shredded cheese. (sound familiar??) Well, I had been off at the facility while she ordered it, but as I returned the waitress placed it in front of her with the comment (I thought) of "here's your Pisco fries." To which Bruce said "I guess you'll have to dance for those." At which I lost the remainder of my voice laughing, and Jen, discerning why, joined me in yet another Pisco dance. (yeah, I'll have fries with that!)

Finally it came clear that the dish was in fact known, for reasons best left unexplored, as Disco Fries. But i prefer to think of it as Haliburton Poutine. And, craving that wonderful salty greasy goodness, I thought, well, I can't order them at this point, 'cause I already have regular fries, but I can at least order some gravy. (Yes, I happen to *like* gravy with my fries :D)

Well, by the time we got home we were still completely punchy, but also wiped out, and I obviously couldn't hold up my part of any conversation, so we finally went off to bed. This morning, when Jen discovered that I *still* had no voice, she suddenly discerned a disturbing pattern. She went to a concert with Chrissy, and Chrissy lost her voice. She went to a concert with Beth, and Beth lost her voice. She went to a concert with me.....

She is not the FruWench. She is the evil FruWitch.

Which can only mean that I am the Little Murrmaid. :)

From Steve:

Forgive the unintentional post of the word "this". No, it wasn't a Zen review of the show.

This was the first time I'd seen the band live, though I've been listening to their CDs for a couple of years. It seems they are more of a theatre troupe than a band, though they are enough of a band to keep me interested through just their CDs. But the experience of their live show is quite a bit more amplified as compared to their recordings than with any other band I've seen. We (spousal unit and I) haven't enjoyed anything so much in a long time. By the intermission we knew we would have to get frumiles cards, because we'd be seeing them again.

It was a funny venue; the Walkabout Clearwater Coffeehouse has a monthly show to benefit the environmental/educational programs of the Walkabout Clearwater organization. The WC (I have to abbreviate it, but I don't intend any cloacal humor by the particular abbreviation I'm using) itself is a seven-foot replica of the Clearwater sloop that travels the Hudson river giving educational programs and making eco-political drama to urge the cleanup of the Hudson (and other polluted waterways). The walkabout oganization carries the WC around to places where the actual sloop can't go for the same kind of educational programs. There was a group out in the lobby doing a kum-ba-ya-ish singalong thing before the show; this was the Walkabout Clearwater Chorus. The WC needs a chorus not so much to sing inspiring songs about rivers and such, but to carry the WC itself, which must weigh a few hundred pounds (It was on display in the lobby).

So a solid half of the audience were Walkabouters, generally older, and the other half were fans of Moxy Fruvous, generally much younger. There was only a razor-thin overlap. That was at the beginning of the show. By the end many of the walkabouters seemed to have been converted.

I didn't have a notepad to keep a set list, and the show was so long -- over two hours -- that I couldn't possibly remember it. I'll hit some highlights:

The show was introduced by a comical fiftyish folkie who seemed a little bemused by the whole thing with the amplifiers and all that; the WC has solo acoustic acts like Bill Staines and Tom Chapin. He was funny about the fruheads down in front. Some of the WC folks that had been enjoying musical brotherhood in the lobby were not too gruntled to find they had to sit way in back. It didn't seem like a good start. By the band calmed fears by opening with the quiet and the familiar; "I've Got To Get A Message To You."

The band took to a side aisle to do "I Love My Boss" off-mike after some cracks about the show being in Westchester County and that most of the people in the audience could relate to this song because they not only had had bosses but mostly were bosses, Westchester County being a synonym for "Rich". They tore over to the opposite side to do "SpiderMan".

We were "concerned" when "Early Morning Rain" started with the odd harmonies; one way to mess up an old folkie's convolutions in a negative manner is to screw around with Gordon Lightfoot . I expect an unusually high reaction factor to "Gord's Gold" when the folks who bought "b" last night slip it into the old CD player.

Spousal unit heard more grumbling than I did from the WC folk folks. All I heard from the elder crowd were good comments.

When Jian asked how many people were at their first Moxy Fruvous concert, there were almost no hands down in front of us (we were in about the seventh row) and practically no hands down behind us. We were also at the point of median age in the audience. Practically everyone in front of us was younger than us -- most by a long way, as we are in our mid-forties -- and most people behind us were our age and older. It felt good to be among the "kids" who showed up because of Moxy Fuvous as opposed to the geezers who showed up because of the toy boat. (I don't mean to dis the WCers -- it's a good cause and we may go back for other events there).

I had the feeling the band enjoyed the gig after the rocky start. The attention paid was total; I heard no side-conversation even though we were sitting next to an apparently unsupervised row of 11-or-12-year-old boys. Jian said at the end they had played "about an hour more than we were supposed to", and said they were pleased to play at a place where it's "all about the music." This may just be professionalism -- any band wants the audience to think they had a great time performing. Well, except some attitude-heavy alienation bands, but they don't count. It certainly seemed sincere.

Murray's shirt was quite ordinary. What a cool voice he has!

This isn't much of a review and it's already kind of long. Ah, well. First try. Now that I posted the phantom "this" I'm committed!

From FruWench:

Ok, I think I have regained my composure to add a few tidbits to teh Katonah reviews.

Gordon and I were the first two in the doors, and amidst injunctions to "WALK" moved rather quiclky to the doors to have our tickets ripped and then raced for seats while the volulnteers looked on amusedly and Tobey grined at us shaking his head. Gordon was headed stage Dave and I was headed stage Murray. We hit the doors and split, racing down the outside aisles. I got the aisle seat, reserved 5 for our group, and sat on the floor in front of my seat. :-)

The MC comes out and explaines about the Clearwater Walkabout being a pet project of Pete Seeger's to clean up the Hudson river and points out the model behind the table where Fruvous has their junk for sale. I yelled out "Junk? It's not junk! It's stuff!" with Lori chiming right in. Then he said it was great to see so many of our generation taking an interest, and we looked at each other. "Our" generation? Had he even looked at the audience? PICK a generation! Which one was "ours"? *giggle*

Concert highlights and notations:

"King of Spain" - They took the religious direction, shunning the Republican line. When Jian was listing the 'names of God' Murray mimicked Jian and said "Allah" with the proper Middle Eastern breathy "H" at the end and Jian looked over and said "Hey, only I'm allowed to say that!" Murray apologized profusly. Then Jian said "Our prophet who will be coming on stage shortly! Well, I don't mean coming on stage, I mean arriving on stage!" Lori and I disolved into giggles and buried our faces in our laps.

"Johnny Saucep'n" - . . . it seemed faster than usual . . . musta been my imagination . . . Am I the only one still doing the hand jive to this?

"Pisco Bandito" - I taught the front row the Pisco Dance, and caught Jian grinning at us. Or was he glaring?

Halfway through the second act we all got up to dance. We were still on our feet when the Lads left the stage. They came back on and said they were only going to do one encore since they were about an hour over their time. They walked to stage Dave and set themselves for the Gulf War song. Then they smiled and waited while everyone sat down. I walked over and knelt on the floor near Murray. Lori, Mosh, and a couple others in the front row joined me and we had a half circle of people kneeling at the Lads' feet for Gulf War.

There was actually an intermission at this show. We snuck a peek at the set lists for the second half. But everyone waited until after the encore to swipe the lists. I was a bit nervous that the lists would disappear, I'm glad they didn't. I was sitting on the stage between Murray's and Jian's set lists, blocking any easy reach. *snicker* And no, I did not stage dive for set lists after the show. That wasn't why I was blocking them.

We hung out by the stage until the room cleared and they started folding up the chairs, and a whole bunch of FruHeads started helping. A bit too enthusiastically. They only needed about a quarter of the chairs folded, we had most of them done before they noticed. So I wandered around helping pick up trash. After a while, we saw the Lads out in the lobby and we headed out. I found a seat comfortably behind a glass door, and pulled out my journal while Lori and Steve schmoozed with the guys.

A volunteer came out of the hall carrying three bottles of water form stage trying to do the "Oooooo, Moxy Fruvous water bottles" bit. The three young girls she tried to pass them off to were singularly unimpressed. She kinda looked upset, I think she was expecting Beatles-type mania here. She glanced at me, so I said I'd take one of the full ones. She gave it to me, I drank it.

I'm a simple person, and I was thirsty. :-)

From the Harvey School website:

Moxy Früvous began in 1990 as a street performing band in Toronto. In the early days they performed almost completely a capella, and developed their knack for four-part harmony as well as a street-level guerilla theatricality and audience rapport that remain a part of their live show today.

Their lyrics are as challenging and diverse as their music, from humorous to heartfelt, from whimsical to political, all infused with a sense of sly intellectual fun. Their eclectic package is sewn together by a few common threads that run throughout their music, such as soaring four-part harmony in the best Beach Boys tradition, and unexpected instrumentation such as banjo, accordion, melodeon, harmonica, and strings, usually on top of a solid bass/drums/acoustic guitar combo.

Potential Früheads: come and hear about the great new FrüMiles Card for frequent concert-goers!

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