Live Show: 5/3/99


Cambridge, MA

Reviewed by: Chris O'Malley, Neilbert & Harry

The Details

Considering how many people were at Fruvous' last Boston show (the Paradise), I was surprised when I found out that Moxy was playing at a considerably smaller venue. I'd never been to the House of Blues before, and since Vika wasn't joining me for this show, it was the first show in a LONG time that I drove to by myself. It ended up being a great show and a very fun evening nonetheless.

I left my apartment at around 6:30 and took the quick 1/2 hour drive to Harvard Square. I was still *way* early. I got some ice cream, walked in the light rain and perused Harvard Square. I really need to visit that place more often. I noticed ceecee, Ofer, Leah and others at the front door to the HoB, so I ran up, said hello and we all proceeded inside to pick up our tickets. Inside, I ran into Lisa Schapiro. Both she and I weren't hungry (everyone else ran off to get food before the show), so we just hung out at the bar in the upstairs part of the HoB...where Fruvous would be performing.

Talked to Tobey and John Greene (donning orange hair), had some drinks, and had a generally relaxing time before the show. People started to trickle in slowly, but even by nine, when doors had been open for about thirty minutes, there weren't that many people in the venue. Maybe it was because the show was on a Monday; maybe it was because the show wasn't super-publicized. Who knows...I was looking forward to a more intimate show.

Jess Klein opened and played for about 30-45 minutes, finishing up around 9:45 (I think). People really weren't paying too much attention to her, unfortunately. She did quite a few quieter numbers, which were completely lost amidst the cacophony of people drinking and socializing. Harry Keates showed up too, so we chatted up a storm about taping, travelling to concerts, and all the other stuff people talk about when they haven't seen each other in six months. :-) Beth from LA (!!!) and Liz were also some people I hadn't seen in a while that showed up unexpectedly.

Tobey asked me to watch the merch table during the show, so he could do guitar tech stuff during Fruvous' set. It was nice being behind the counter...I wasn't crowded by all the people who showed up out of nowhere near the end of Jess' set. The place was packed in fairly well, and everyone was itching for Moxy to go on.

Fruvous took the stage by around 10:30 and played for just under two hours. It was a great set...lots of banter and improvs...improvs that didn't feel quite as forced as some recent ones I've seen. They did this huge Lionel Richie jam during one of the encores...VERY funny. One thing that sticks out in my mind: during the into for Psycho Killer, Jian had everyone be real quiet. He sang the first few lines almost inaudibly, and then screamed out the line right before the drums kick in. The expression on his face was priceless...he looked absolutely maniacal. The crowd was really good, too...they kept quiet while Moxy was chattering, and Fruvous didn't let anyone down...their set included old and a lot of new tunes.

After the set, I didn't hang around that long. I talked to some other fruheads that I didn't get a chance to see before Moxy went on. When I left (quarter after one), Jian was the only band member who'd come out to socialize. I was really tired, so I headed home and was snug in bed by two in the morning.

Until the second HoB show...(tonight!!)

From Neilbert:

Just returned from the House of Blues. Being that this was my first 'real' Moxy Fruvous concert, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I had seen them at the SoNo Arts Festival in Norwalk, CT (last summer?) but that seemed more of a concert they played at than a true Fruvous date. So, after wandering over a bit more of Boston than originally planned, I arrived in time to hear the last two songs by Jess Klien (I think). As had been noted by others at other concerts, no one seemed to pay much attention to her. I guess that's the rule for opening acts.

As for the actual part performed by our four lads, I was pleased. My girlfriend gets mad at me for not remembering details of *anything* but I do remember that "Independence Day" stood out amongst the opening 4 or 5 songs, all of which came from the new album. At the beginning of "I Love My Boss," we all sang along, to which Jian mentioned that we all knew it and therefore, must have had it on MP3. A bit of anti-MP3 sentiment was launched.... lots of gnome puns....a medley of Lionel Richie songs that involved a pair of ladies from the audience singing backup...."...and you shook me all night long..."....I also finally heard Pisco Bandito. I know it's been out for a while, but I kind of fell off the face of the earth. But that's the second new song that I've decided I love...third one is "I Will Hold On," which even though I've only heard it once, has already had a profound impact on me. (If someone has the lyrics to this, please kindly send a copy along as I now desperately need to share them with someone special in my life).

I also realized that a Moxy Fruvous concert is a different experience than a lot of other shows I've gone to. Most bands, you go to listen to the songs; I go to Fruvous to see *them*. Yeah, I know, one and a half concerts. I've seen lots of bands more than that... but I have the feeling that if they just decided to do three songs, and talk to us the rest of the time, I'd be cool with that. I can't see They Might Be Giants doing something like that and making it appeal to me.

Finally, a plea and a note. The plea is that if one of the folks who was taping (and I know two folks were; I watched the mics being set on the electrical wires ;-) got a good copy of the show, I'd love to have a copy. I have nothing to trade, unfortunately - but blank tapes. The other is that if you get this message before Tuesday's show, I'll be there too. Just look for the fairly tall guy with the unkempt hair and (weather depending) long sleeve KLF shirt. I now must return to my lurker status. Plus, I have to work in 5 hours.

From Harry Keates:

"I hope there is someone from the Boston Globe here, because this is the most f*cking surreal thing that even this group has ever done. 'They ended the night with an off key tribute to Lionel Richie'" - Jian

I need to do some work, so I won't write a long review now, but it was a terrific show. The guys were in great humor and the show was very loose. there were a number of comments about allowing the audiance into "our practice space."

Lets see, some comments: it was a very small space and got packed in very quickly when the guys went on stage. Jian said they wanted to play some small venues to work on playing their new stuff. The audiance was enthusiastic, especially in singing along with the improvs and the extended Lionel Richie segment. The famous Gnomes were there, which led to a lot of gnome puns, which I won't repeat. Jian ragged on Murray for his style of counting in the song When she talks, I listen, which led to the whole crowd counting along and applauding the band for being able to start at the right time. There was a Bjork tribute. The new songs sounded great. Jian said that their time togeather recording the new album was very "special" and they really seemed pleased with the results. The Lionel Richie segment is hard to describe, but was great, when it started to lose steam they drifted into a few other songs, including On Broadway, call me Al, Dave's rap style song ("it may look like a movie, but you know that it's real), and finally You shook me all night long. Oh, and Chris O'Malley did an excellent Toby impression at the merch table during the show.

I won't attempt the set list, but a quick description would be lots of new songs, followed by a sort of run through the popular sing-a-longs, followed by general weirdness and some softer songs to close. No King of Spain or drinking song.

The Music

Opened with The Set Closed with Encore 1 Encore 2

Misc. Info

Some other tidbits from the performance include:

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