Four Moxys deliver messages to all ages Winnipeg Free Press (date unknown)

Four Moxys deliver messages to all ages

by Stephen Ostick

One of the members in Moxy Fruvous came closest to describing the Toronto quartet during Wednesday's West End Cultural show. He sang about making a living in a group "where The Nylons meet the Barenaked Ladies."

Not bad, at least as far as the Ladies are concerned. After all, both bands hail from Toronto, and each group performs a grab-bag of folk/rock/jazz-influenced styles. And they both place as much importance on satire and comedy as they do on carefully structured vocal harmonies.

But not even the fabulous Ladies - and certainly not those flimsy Nylons - pack as political a punch as Moxy.

That may explain the age spread among the sellout crowd - from teenagers to their parents. Moxy's frantic, two-hour show often set them thinking and surely sent them home that way.

Whether delivered a cappella or with simple guitar/bass/accordion/percussion accompaniment, the four-voice harmonies made for compelling listening. Opened by wonderful local group The Welfare Starlets, this may have been the show of the year. It was made even better because there were messages galore behind the yuks.

The four moxys - Michael Ford, Murray Foster, Jean Ghomeshi and David Matheson - got right to the point with a hilarious opening commenatry on the L.A. riots.

They set lovely a cappella harmonies to rock group Boston's hit Peace of Mind: "Some say it's poverty, but we don't buy it/We know the problem is too much Murphy Brown."

When introducing Stuck in the '90s, they explained that their unique perspective is rooted in their origins as the "lost generation."

"We came after the baby boomers but before the computer generation - our formative yars were spent somewhere between the second season of Welcome Back Kotter and the first season of WKRP."

Along the way Moxy Fruvous covered the ground it shares with the Ladies: lines of rap thrown in here and there, complete with vocal drum beat; sendups of megahists like Styx's sappy ballad Babe and Abba's Dancing Queen.

They even sang a beautiful, touching folk encore, as do the Ladies, but Moxy did it a cappella and without microphones.

And like the Ladies' Be My Yoko Ono, Moxy has its trademark song: a terrific, albeit unlikely, makeover of the Dr. Suess children's classic Green Eggs and Ham.

The crowd culdn't get enough of 'em, and didn't care whether Moxy Fruvous was called comedians, satirists, an a cappella act, or Crosby, Stills and two Nashes.

Whatever, it was wildly entertaining and promises to take the group places. Whether that's Centennial Hall or Yuk Yuk's has yet to be seen.

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