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T.L.A. plays host to Moxy Fruvous, The Nields

WXPN-hosted concert attracts variety of ages

By Scott Radway, Entertainment Editor

Canadian quartet, Moxy Fruvous, brought their mix of satirical bits to the T.L.A. in a recent WXPN concert.

On a balmy March 27, Philadelphia low-key concert hall, the TLA, played host to Canadian quartet Moxy Fruvous and their brand of off-the-wall four-part harmonies. While nationally unrecognized, the group has spawned a somewhat decent local following due to their frequent past appearances at the Philadelphia Folk Festival.

Their style fails to be simply categorized, as they shuffle through every style from acoustic folk-rock to latin-tinged jingling to straight-ahead barbershop stylings. This may be why their fan-base is not larger. Most of their songs are deceptively satirical, and this is what draws their loyal fans.

These fans come from a wide variety of ages, as a good portion of the crowd was 40+, but their wackiness attracts just as many younger listeners.

Moxy Fruvous's new album, "You Will Go To The Moon," has been released on a big-name label, and is available in most music stores, though their most memorable song is the wacky "King of Spain" off their first album, "Bargainville."

The evening was opened by The Nields, an indie-rock group from Massachusetts, who have also made appearances at the Philly Folk Festival. Technically the show opened with a song performed by various members of the two groups, calling themselves The Daves, but the Nields began their scheduled performance immediately afterwards. The audience seemed less than excited upon their initial appearance, but by the end of their set the crowd was still screaming for more. In a rare opportunity, the opening band actually did an encore performance, and left to a much larger response.

Due to the differences in the two bands, neither was overshadowed by the other, and Moxy's appearance approximately forty-five minutes later picked up immediately with the excitement that the Nields left the crowd with.

Digging right in with the crowd pleasers, they opened with accordion-tinged "B.J. Don't Cry" and "Bargainville," a spoken-word jingle dedicated to the decent but rare video hawkers with special under-the-table deals for lucky customers.

Selections from their two newest releases showed their changing sound, drifting away from the goofy, slapstick humor in favor of a mellow, serious approach to their observatory lyrics and topics. These were not necessarily the favorites among the fans, but were respected nonetheless.

Highlights from their show included "The Greatest Man in America," a sarcastic look at Rush Limbaugh, and a lively version of the previously-mentioned "King of Spain." During their encore, they closed the show with the acapella "Gulf War Song," performed without microphones, amplifiers, or instruments to demonstrate the way they began singing as high-schoolers on the Canadian street corners.

Results of their respective high-school drama departments, all four members of Moxy Fruvous appeared not only comfortable on the stage, but witty and able to react in very entertaining fashions to audience remarks. Along with this comes their individual talents at various instruments, aside from their well-trained voices. During the course of the evening, the band members traded-off frequently and covered acoustic and electric guitars, drums and latin-percussion, electric bass, accordion, penny whistle, electronic keyboard, and various other sound effects and instruments.

The Nields, whose sound is reminiscent of a combination of styles which have been implemented by people like Jewel and The Dave Matthews Band, seem to have the potential for mainstream popularity, but lack the exposure and attention.

Their last album, "Gotta Get Over Gretta," has been picked up by a major label and will be re-released in May (as what the band refers to as "Blue Gretta" due to a change in cover art). The Nields' previous release, "Bob On The Ceiling" is still very difficult to find, though local music chain directories have it listed on file.

Moxy Fruvous announced that they will be appearing once again at this year's Philadelphia Folk Festival in August.

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