reviewed by: Steve Johnson and Lynn Rafferty
*** The Details ***
We arrived at 6:30, 1/2 hour after the doors were supposed to open. Still got good seats - one of the center elevated tables, probably 30 feet from the stage, but a great view. Our tablemates were 3 very nice people about 1/2 our ages who have probably been to 10 times as many Moxy shows as us - but that's not saying a lot.
*** Opening acts ***
The 1st opening act, Kevin So, was great - a good voice and some fine original songs. His first song sounded like it might be autobiographical, sort of a road song about an Asian American man interacting with America. He played alone, yet brought a lot of energy and a wide range of expression. Some songs were humorous, some serious - most had good social messages, like Moxy's. He had the crowd sing along, doing the chorus on a "racial harmony" type song with the words, "We can be strong together" or something like that.
The second opening act, M. Taggerty was, well, let's be charitable, since we're apparently going to be seeing a lot more of her. She's a pretty singer and guitarist, and a pretty good pianist. (Note the placement of the adjective "good"). From the repertoire, we think she's listened to the Cranberries and learned to play "House of the Rising Sun" from someone our age, but has yet to pick up any stage presence other than cute smiles and snickers. Let's hope Jian uncovers some hidden talent in the upcoming recording sessions. We did enjoy her accompanist, a drummer named Adam something. I'd like to see him play with Kevin So.
Lynn says: Lose the girl.
*** The Music ***
Moxy came out around 10:15, yet we still got a great show - they played one long set with two 2-song encores, finishing up around 12:15. Jian didn't look very well - maybe getting over a cold? Lots of sniffling - hopefully for natural reasons. Murray has refined his deadpan act even more than when we'd seen him before - he just stares at his antic bandmates, waits for his chance, then nails us with those one-line comebacks.
I kept a playlist below. There are a couple of songs I didn't know. One was what I'd call a "current events" song - lots of social commentary ranging from Elian Gonzales to Monicagate to George Dubya Bush, etc. I know they always throw in improvised topical lyrics, but this whole song seemed to be that way. It was in a minor key, tonic-dominant-tonic pattern.
Jian was on a serious Elian bandwagon, commenting about the excessive amount of press coverage, and the way the boy's been treated as a political pawn. Great improvisation to the tune of Black Magic Woman (by Santana), with lyrics like "Put the boy on the flag, wave the flag, drop him down, see where he falls". I'd always wondered how Carlos Santana's guitar solo would sound played on a banjo - thanks, Dave.
They played Horseshoes slowly, with lots of feeling. Heat Seeker Boy is a new song, to be on the "C" album. Murray said he prefers the "B" and "C" albums to the "main" albums, and Jian got on his case for that.
The Boss song started with a little skit about the 3 or 4 different types of boss - I suppose that's a standard routine. They also improvised a parody of Sting's "Fields of Honey" (played and harmonized beautifully), with "Barley Soup" lyrics.
The other songs I didn't know were something about "Frankenfood", something about "I will / I may refuse you" (which I'd heard them play before), and something about "this is the strangest movie I've ever seen".
Jian (or maybe it was Mike) did an intro to one song, addressing the audience very seriously, "My fellow Americans ... Koms and Yangs". This confirmed our suspicion that they have watched way too much Star Trek Original Series.
They played Video Bargainville quite faster than on the CD, with Jian practically chanting the verses. During the musical bridges, Dave played the Dr. Zhivago "Lara" theme on synthesizer.
It was a great show. Thank you, MF.
Substitution Half As Much Horsehoes Heat Seeker Boy I Love My Boss Kick in the Ass Barley Soup improv (parody of Sting's "Fields of Honey") My Poor Generation Pisco Bandito Stuck in the 90s some song about current events (minor key) Mistra Know It All FrankenFood (Mike solo) Michigan Militia False start of Present Tense Tureen (1st 2-3 bars only) Black Magic Woman improv, great commentary on Elian Gonzales Johnny Saucep'n something about "I will / I may refuse you" King of Spain, went directly into Green Eggs and Ham Something about "this is the strangest movie I've ever seen" Closed With Video Bargainville (Dr. Zhivago theme on keyboard during bridges) Encore 1 My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors Get in the Car Encore 2 Do You Believe Drinking Song (great crowd sing-along, sounded like all 300-odd people knew it by heart)
Pretty normal clothes except for Dave: a finely striped white suit and black shirt. The crowd gave him a big cheer when Jian pointed it out.
The theater was great - good sound, good food, and a nice crowd. I liked the way the crowd sang along softly with the Drinking Song - you could always hear Mike clearly, and no one was singing during the pauses between verses.
Good to put faces to the names of folks I talked to on PowerWall! Thanks to everyone who took time to talk to me; I really enjoyed meeting more folks.
Arrived at Birchmere, remarkably, in only 20 minutes, from my office in downtown D.C. "You never know" what traffic's going to do, so I figured I'd rather be earlier than later. Waited outside for a bit, then got let in promptly at 5:00 to pick up tickets. Waited "inside" for a while; we were a little worried when an entire *bus* of kids pulled up outside; the 'other' half of the venue (where the bar and seats where one can usually wait around for the doors to open) was being used for a revue-style performance. I think it was over by the time 'our' show started.
In the meantime, I really enjoyed both openers; Kevin So was refreshingly witty, and had a unique take on a number of current issues. I'll definitely be looking for him to do big things in the future! Martina Sorbara played a couple of the same songs she'd done in Annapolis, but also some other ones; an enjoyable performance, again.
Murray's Setlist Mike's Setlist SUB SUBSTITUTE 1/2 1/2 HORSE HORSE HEAT HEATSEEK BOSS BOSS ASS ASS MPG M.P.G. PIZZICATO PISZCO STUCK STUCK MINNIE MINNIE MISTRAH MYSTRA GUINEA GUINEA MICHY MICHY SAUCE SAUCE HOLD HOLD KING KINGREEN GE SPLAT SPLAT VIDEO VID _______ ==== author. car AUTH cher. drink CAR ==== CHER DR.
We have taken a departure from having just-one verse of Minnie dedicated to local references; almost *all* of this song had been 'adjusted.' Mike's notes are nearly indecipherable (to me, who is not as skilled in Mikese as I'd like to be!), I will scan them and post them to my site in the next couple of days; check over at http://www.wharf.com/ariel/fruvous.htm next week...
Before ILMB, there was what could be called a "skit," the three types of bosses; Jian showcased Dave as the boss who's into 'trust exercises.' When Dave up-and-fell-backward, I think Jian was a little taken by surprise, not knowing if Dave was actually going to do it? Mike portrayed the locked-out Boss; Murray was the kind of boss who sort-of talks to people, then sort-of wanders away, ostensibly under the guise of being 'in touch' with employees, while not actually doing so at all. Has this skit (or anything like it) been done at previous shows? Jian commented, "This usually works much better," during a pause between laughter.
Improvs included an extended version of "Fields of Barley," & Black Magic Woman (!!!). The latter was after the next song was introduced as being about food; all the guys got their stuff to play Tureen; Jian even got all the percussion implements. It was then determined that that was *not* the intended next song (I, and, quite possibly, Murray, was ready for Pork Tenderloin!); that they were going to fire whoever was in charge of writing setlists (Jian) because that song did *not* make it to the setlist... So, instead, they played Saucep'n, which *was* on the setlist!
Was it me, or were there some new lyrics to Stuck in the 90's? There were some that were decidedly unfamiliar to *me,* but maybe I'm mistaken-- does anyone know whether this has been an acknowledged change, or done before, or I'm just confused?
I didn't recognize the song listed as 'Mistrah/Mystra' on the setlists, and it wasn't introduced-- maybe someone else could comment on that?
They played IWHO with Dave on guitar; no percussion-- I liked this rather a lot. I think Lisa agrees with me on this one...? KOS into GE&H. Minor downpoint of the evening was the sound guy next to the stage pointedly *not seeing* that Dave had picked up the accordion, then pointedly *not noticing* Dave trying to get his attention to turn the accordion mike up! Very frustrating! It was resolved, eventually, but this may have peeved Dave a bit. Disco B'ville was lots of fun, but the crowd seemed a little subdued-- could have been to the copious posting of the Birchmere's strict rules about noise, etc. Ram's Head has similar rules, but the RHT crowd seemed a little more up. I couldn't see the rest of the crowd last night, though, being right up-front, so maybe I'm off in my assessment...
2nd encore was Cher (finally got to hear that one in-person, after hearing so much about it!), and the Drinking Song, to close. High-energy, great banter, all the things I love these guys for!
All in all, a *lovely* two evenings (even if I had wicked trouble hauling out of bed this morning to get to work, argh); great seats for Birchmere (front & center, finally! never been that close before!), wonderful to meet and see folks from the NG and elsewhere.
I'll be missing the Herndon & Baltimore shows in June, hopefully someone can pick me up a C Album? I'll be playing the Lads in the car on that trip that's causing me to miss the shows, though, so I'll be with you in spirit! (and converting new Fruheads, too!)
With much love-- thanks for a great two days! I needed that!
When I got up, I had to call around to my peeps to figure out who was going to the Alexandria show. Now, this is a show that I had actually planned on going and didn't decide at the last minute from people persuading me to go. Sadly, Lisa emailed me and said she wouldn't be able to go to the show...she didn't want to drive for four hours...even though she said that her driving limit is 10 hours. Teehee. Sorry, Lisa...I just had to mention that. =)
So, at 5:30 I was back on the highway with the ethnics in the car. Atasi was in the back studying for her exams that were this morning (yes, she had a final at 8am and one at 10:30am...what a trooper!!!!!). Amanda was in front as the DJ/navigator in total denial of studying for her exam that she had today at 1:30. As for me...Tuesday's exam was my last one, so I was just fine...ooooh, yeah. =)
We got into Alexandria around 7:30 and Amanda was all happy because she's from the area and she was like, I feel like I'm at home even though I really won't be until Friday. =) We went inside and found the only semi-good table stage Dave...it was the table that ran along the right side of the stage...basically, we got a view of everyone's butts during the show (Lisa...sound familiar??? Told you would miss out on that again!!!!).
Kevin So was the first to come on and he was great! We really enjoyed his set. Individual is our new song just because that's exactly how our group of friends is. Towards the end of my stay at the hall with the girls, it was basically Amanda ("yellow"), Atasi ("brown"), Natalie ("black"), and myself ("white") doing stuff together. Even though we all have these different backgrounds and stuff, we are still this awesome group of people. I just love these women so much! Anyway, now that I'm done with gushing over that... After Kevin's set, we head out to buy his cds and we had him sign them. He's a really cool guy. =) You all have to get his cds...I really suggest listening to Individual and Porn Star...definitely my favorites from last night.
Martina came on and she had a good set. She shared with us that just before leaving for the tour, her car was broken into and her keyboard was stolen. That really sucks...
After Martina was finished, Amanda and I hopped out back so she could have a cigarette and I wanted to just stand up and get some fresh air... Again, I was feeling really tired. Man, I need to catch up on my sleep sometime soon. So, while we're out there, I point out the Früvous van and Amanda yet again talks about how they need to get a VW bus. She's so funny. While we're out there, Jian comes out and he looks at us like we're stalkers or something...
We went back inside and waited for Früvous to come on. Tobey sits next to us and sets up his station there. We offer him some chips and salsa and stuff... He's pretty cool. They guys come on and yet again, they start right into banter. For the life of me, I can't remember what they talked about. They played a lot of stuff from the C album, saying that it's their 43rd album. =) It was cool to watch them from the side... Just a different "perspective" on them...if you catch my drift. Some of the sites weren't so bad...esp. during I Love My Boss... Umm...ok, so then, before Pisco, I think, Jian comes over to our side and looks at the three of us and smiles. So cute... And during Mike's intro of King of Spain, Jian hops down and sits next to Atasi for a bit...guess he just needed to chill with us peeps for a few seconds.
After King of Spain, they went right into Green Eggs and Ham. Last night, Mike went into a lovely showtune I'm thinking is from Cats. It was great! Everyone was cracking up and Mike was meowing and stuff. Hilarious! You had to be there!
After the show, we're hanging out and stuff. I was giving Amanda piggy back rides around the building and we talked with Mindy and Anna for a bit. Jian came out and people were making fun of him and Martina because they were wearing the exact same outfits: dark jeans rolled up once, black shirt, jean jacket, dark glasses, and they hair was pretty much the same. Martina's drummer gave her a necklace to put on and it was pretty similar to Jian's. Jian asked for a picture to be taken...it definitely was a funny site.
We talked with Jian for a bit and he's really cool. I've never really talked with him before...just kinda hung back while he spoke with Jordan and stuff. He's really funny. After a while, we had to get going because Atasi needed to get back so she could get ::some:: sleep before her exam in the morning.
And, that is it for me for a long time in the reviews...
I am actually really glad that I headed out for all three shows. I'm leaving for Florida on Friday, like I said in my first review. I don't know when I will be able to see Früvous again. Right now I'm working on ideas to meet Jordan for the California shows and to meet Lisa for the Cambridge shows. The main issue is getting the money for it and dealing with my mother. That's the only down side to moving home for the summer...you have to deal with parents after spending a year being an independent person.
So, ya, I was totally glad that Atasi and Amanda joined me for the Alexandria show. It was the perfect closure for us since we're all going home for the summer...Amanda in Virginia and Atasi in Georgia. I introduced them to Früvous and it was really during the FruCon trip that we all bonded and became so close. It was sad that Paul and Jordan weren't there...that definitely would have been perfect. But, I wouldn't have asked for last night to go any other way. These women rock...and someone got a liking for Amanda...hmmm...we'll see what happens with that...
Ok, I'm outtie, peeps...
See y'all later...
Maybe in California or in Cambridge...
Jordan, you best be emailing me soon, yo! ...the same goes for you Lisa!!!!!
Some other tidbits from the performance include: