Utica Observer-Dispatch Friday, Nov. 7, 1997
Weekend Plus
pg. 7

Jam band Gov't Mule wields absolute power

by Dan Austin

Special to the Observer-Dispatch

(Check out the front cover from the Weekend Plus)

Gov't Mule and Moxy Fruvous are about as far apart musically as they are geographically, but what they both share, and what will inevitably fill the house at Utica's Rainforest Preserve Saturday and Sunday nights, is that certain intangible something near greatness itself.

...discussion of Gov't Mule removed...

Similarly astounding is the Toronto band Moxy Fruvous. Like Dylan at Newport, the quirky quartet introduced eclectic instruments to the thousands of grass-roots music fans gathered at this summer's Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in Hillsdale. Unlike Bob's debacic decades earlier, the innovative energy and impeccable four-part harmonies of the Canadians easily won the crowd over before the first few high-voltage songs of their headlining set were over.

Ever harder to categorize than the Mule crew, Moxy Fruvous mixes so many styles, so many instruments, so much stage prescence, that few are the folks who can leave a show thinking they haven't just seen the most unique performance in recent memory, or for that matter, the most memorable ever.

Outstanding vocal interplay and harmony recall the best of The Beatles or Queen, acoustic elements surfact and suggest They Might Be Giants or R.E.M.

Underlying everything is an almost indescribable lyrical quality that shifts effortlessly from all-out comedy to compellingly deep emotional and social sentiment. It's easy and fun just to enjoy the music of Moxy Fruvous, but they are potentially the most intelligent band you've ever shared brainwaves with.

It's this creativity that helped sell out the band's performance at The Kirkland Arts Center this year, and draws legions of Phish fans to the Fruvous camp.

Jian Ghomeshi (vocal, drums, percussion), Mike Ford (vocal, guitar), Murray Foster (vocal, bass), and multi-instrumentalist Dave Matheson (vocal, accordion, banjo, guitar) got their start busking on the streets of Toronto. A quick rise to fame north-of-the-border followed, fueled by independently released songs on CBC Radio. Opening shows for Bob Dylan, and a song that stayed Number One on the Canadian independent charts for almost a year combined to attract the attention of Warner Music Canada, who released Moxy Fruvous' first album "Bargainville" in 1993.

The band is now touring in support of "You Will Go To The Moon," an entertaining and experimental 13-song collection whose title track was recently used to wake the astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery.

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