Whew! Another Triple Crown complete. What a great time I had with the huge mass of Fruheads converging on this border hugging city. :)
Jason, Rob, Jo, my friend Eric and I left Rochester around 4:30 on Saturday afternoon. Once in Buffalo, we went right back to Breckenridge Pub, where a bunch of us had dinner the night before. Great place; it's right across the street from The Tralf, and the food is really good. After dinner, we headed to the line forming in front of the doors to the venue.
I know that I'll forget someone, but here's who was there that I can remember: Mike & Kelly, Laurie, Jenn, Jered, Heather, Zac, Katie & her mom, Chad, Beth, Susan Tanner, Chris & Moe, Kevin Burg, Tara Luft and many others. Doors opened on time again (around 8:30) and we grabbed a bunch of tables. This show was different that the one the night previous in the fact that there were no tables in front of the stage, only to the sides. It seemed backwards to me, considering this was a 21+ crowd. Why have a bunch of tables in front of the stage for an all ages show?
Hammel on Trial went on very promptly (little past nine) and played for about 45 minutes. He didn't make fun of people on the internet this time (but did recognize a bunch of Fruheads in the front row that had probably seen him more than three times in the last week), and the crowd seemed to enjoy him. It's hard to tell, though, how a crowd is going to react when a performer stands on stage and yells, "Fuck you!" to the audience.
Fruvous started around 10:30, and played to a joyous crowd for 2 1/2 hours! Despite some techincal problems ('a technical jamboree'), and some unruly audience members having fights and arguments during, of course, the more somber numbers, the show was great. I was glad they modified the set as much as they did from the night before.
Afterwards, we all visited with one another, and Laurie presented the guys with a framed collage of photos, the biggest one being a pic of about 30 of us from the Philadelphia Folk Fest. It came out really well (kudos Laurie!) and the guys liked it a lot. I think the venue finally started moving us all out by around two in the morning.
About a dozen of us headed to Pano's (a greek/american greasy spoon) for some much needed sustinence. After saying our goodbyes, we finally got on the road by 3:30 in the morning, and made it back to Rochester by five. Ugh.
I had a blast this weekend. Three great shows in two cities, one of them being a Fruvous mecca, makes for a bunch of happy Fruheads. Can't wait to do it all again! (Can anyone say 'Mercury Lounge'??)
From Jered Floyd:
Wow. After every show I've been to, I always say to the guys that it was a great show, because it always has been. I've never been disappointed with a Fruvous show or walked away with a feeling of, "Oh, why did I bother to go to this?" But this show was absolutely incredible.
On Saturday we again arrived at the venue early, at around 6pm. There were about 4 other people there at that time...2 hours before the doors opened. We amused ourselves by listening to the sound check from outside (some interesting lyrics changes in 'Present Tense Tureen', Dave), and writing witty comments on Fruhead shirts and the like. When Jian arrived he told us cryptically that tonight's show would be totally different.
Doors opened, finally, so we went in and claimed prime space at tables and in front of the stage. Another hour passed and Hammel on Trial went on. Now, the other day in the Portland review I wrote I said that I was getting tired of him fast. I should clarify on that some, it sounds rather harsh. For this show I was sitting close to the stage, under the overhead speakers, and I enjoyed his set much more than before. He's very talented (he does things that I didn't know were possible with just one guitar, especially without breaking strings), and a nice guy, and while I wouldn't drive way out of my way to see him (just not my favorite kind of music) I certainly wouldn't avoid him. Anyhow, this was his last show opening for Fruvous, at least on this stretch of the tour (I don't know if he'll be back (There are too many parenthesis in this message (I'm doing a terrible job of writing English this morning.)))
Then, Fruvous went on. I have Mike's beautifully decorated setlist here, but that's only half of the story. They started with 'Gotta Get a Message to You', and then rolled right into _wood_. 'Down From Above', 'Horseshoes', 'Fly' (my personal favorite), 'Present Tense Tureen', 'Poor Mary Lane', 'On Her Doorstep'. We were almost expecting to hear 'Misplaced' for the first time, but that was not to be. Still, it was a great start and refreshingly different from the previous 6 shows. Now the rest of this I may have out of order...I just have a general warm fuzzy feeling and am having trouble placing things. Next we had 'Lazy Boy', 'King of Spain', and one of my new favorites, 'Boo Time'.
Mike was totally on the ball last night and improvising left and right. After King he launched into an 'ad' for the Fruvous Folk Music Collection. '24 of the best folk music songs ever written, even though there are only 19 good folk music songs.' Lots of improvisation here...and then the intro to 'Your New Boyfriend'. Now the previous night I mentioned to Murray, just as a bit of trivia, that WLUV couldn't be from Toronto, since all Canadian stations start with 'C'. I didn't think that they should do anything about that, I just mentioned it in passing...but when Dave did the intro he changed it to CLUV (and confused everyone else on the stage, I think...) Blame me, I didn't mean to have that happen... So, we had 'Your New Boyfriend', 'Fell in Love', and then the only big song that I hadn't heard before...'Cross-border Shopping'! Yay!
A word about the venue...there seemed to be far too many obnoxious drunk people. Besides random screamings (other than fanlike screamings) there were people talking LOUDLY during 'Fell In Love'. That was really annoying. That's all I'm going to complain, since I still had a great time at the show.
'Incredible Medicine Show','Video Bargainville', and then the gremlins in the sound system struck. There had been little sound glitches occasionally all evening...but all of the sudden Mike's Mike cut out in the middle of the intro to 'Michigan Militia'. Militia is a bit weak without Mike (to put it lightly) so time needed to be filled...and filled it was. Dave and Murray had already started into the intro, and Jian somehow managed to mutate this into 'Relax' by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Cool. Lazlo was still switching cables (oh, did I mention Lazlo was there for sound?) so Jian treated us to 'Saying Something Stupid (Like I Love You)'. Wow...and then more joking around with Mike. One of the guys said that Mike couldn't actually speak, but the bullhorn could read his mind. The only problem was, it only had a set of 4 canned responses. "What'd you have for dinner last night, Mike?" "Weather's great, thanks!"
Next we got 'Johnny Saucepan', 'River Valley', 'Get in the Car', and the show closed as usual with 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered'. The encores were 'GE&H'/'I Love My Boss', and 'Grunge of Spain'/ 'Drinking Song'.
All in all, the show ran about 2 hours and 20 minutes, the longest Fruvous show I've ever seen. Yet it didn't seem nearly that long to me, and I was sad to see it end. I certainly don't want to wish more technical difficulties on the band, but I love it when the unexpected happens (even if it's planned. :-) This show was chock full of banter, improvisation, and general good cheer, and a great way to end my week of Fruving. Hopefully it can get me through a month without Fruvous...
From Chad Maloney:
The next morning, Laurie was up working on the surprise. We called around so we could fill what we didn't know and we had our straight cutter and our neat writer doing the best jobs they could. We wrapped it up in cool space shiny paper added little talking bubble with things like "Frus in Space", "Saturrrn", and "Flowers do grow there".
We visited the Frufam and spent some fun times with Josh and Jake and all their fun stuff (it is pretty hard to tune a plastic guitar). Mike was kind enough to only slightly trounce me at the new Game Day Playstation football game and we watched some of FalconRidge (Mike's butt) and Taste of Danforth. We ordered out for pizza and split off to head to the venue to get in line for some good seats. We wanted to get between Dave and Mike this time =)
We drove in while Mike and Kelly and Jenn got the Pizza. Laurie forgot her ticket at home, but fortunately for here, home was Buffalo. If any other of had forgot, it would have been a bit longer trip. We ate pizza and listened to the sound check, which was long to say the least, probably so they could make sure all was well for the recording. Time passed and people showed up that stayed in Rochester that night and we all visited and waited patiently.
Dave had wandered by before the show and mentioned that they'll be switching up a couple songs. Jian went a step further saying the show will be completely different. It ended up an average of the two in my opinion, but the show itself was far from average.
The doors opened and we weren't distracted by Marcus's grin this time. We headed to the stage and staked out our spots. The tables were gone now (table for an all ages show and no tables for 21+? okay...) so we put our stuff down on the fringe tables and sat down on the floor waiting for Hammel. I have no idea how, but Jo and I got talking about stuff and that pretty much took from when doors opened to when Hammel came out. We sat on the floor for Hammel. He was on tonight! This was by far the best I'd heard him and he earned my signature on his mailing list and my buying his disc. He said he only stalk people on the mailing list a little, but I'm bigger than him =) He did a great song for his mother that had such great imagery. I'm sure everyone listening was moved by it, unfortunately I don't think everyone was listening to him. If anyone sees Hammel again, make sure you pay attention to the lyrics. They are wonderful.
Hammel joked about playing for the same crowd everytime and we all laughed. Hmmm. It probably seems that way. He also said he really like playing with the Frufour and playing for their crowd because he normally plays punk clubs. I really hope he earned some fans because he seems like a great guys and does some interesting stuff. I know his style isn't for everyone, but he had a great message.
After Hammel, Heatherrr wanted waters for the show, so I went on a quest for them. The bartenders passed me over for 15 minutes, so I decided to come back and try my luck at the wandering waitresses. Rob helped too, but Rob's luck with waitresses isn't all that great and we both failed miserably. Finally, Jenn went up to the bar and about a minute later came back with the pay off. Three waters, the breath of life for tired dancers at a Frushow. I met Zac there and some other great people that were next to us and we made our plans. We formed the human wall so that the crowd behind couldn't force up and take our space. It worked well with a couple minor exceptions.
Before the show, people from some radio station names Alice (that is the radio station, not the people) threw shirts. I was big and in the right place, so I brought down as many as I could and started giving to Laurie. The funniest thing was that I was snagging shirts from everywhere, but when one hit me sqaure in the face, someone else grabbed it off me =)
The Frufour started out with Message a cappella again. Still great and fresh. Even after the first number you could feel them get the steam going. They set out to perform Wood. We thought they'd go through with it until they hit the wall that is Misplaced. But Horseshoes, Fly, Tureen, Poor Mary Lane, and Doorstep all went down great. It was wonderful to hear. I'd heard the first four done as an opening to a show, but I love On Her Doorstep and feeling it go all way just kept us all shaking with the music the whole way through.
I had some slight audience problems with a woman behind me who didn't like the fact that I was in front of here. She asked politely to get by and I appreciated that, but when I responded politely that I would rather not let her by, she wasn't very happy. I had been in the same place since before Hammel, so I figure that I earned my place dancing with my friends here. She finally moved over to somewhere else after a minute or two. Then two girls with drinks pushed their way inbetween me and Heatherrr and Jenn. Needless to say we danced a lot more flamboyantly for awhile. The woman between Heatherrr and me left after a couple tunes and went back to my right. The other finally left too after awhile. I guess I don't understand showing up late and expecting to push your way to the front.
Somewhere in the Wood stuff I think, we got some Winnie the Pooh discussion about how Brits wanted to speak english and how it is the opposite here. Jian would sing the "I'm Winnie the Pooh" song and then break into a heavy british accent. It was pretty funny.
The King came out earlier than I've ever seen him for a rousing King of Spain. The crowd got really into this one and the momentum kept rolling. Mike kissed Dave in the middle and then made a remark about how he was payed 53 pieces of silver to kiss that man. Dave retorted with some remarks about the facial hair scraping him.
Then came the tune that I really really wanted to hear while I was in buffalo because I knew I'd never hear it anywhere else. Cross Border Shopping! We got the New York New York sauntering going on and when Murray burst in front for his verse I was so proud. It isn't often Murray gets up and just goes, but he did. Jian remarked that now we all know how a song sounds that they haven't rehearsed in months and Murray pointed out that he must have missed the rehearsal 5 minutes before the show in the dressing room.
Mike did a hilarious add for Fruvous Folk Songs, the best 24 folk songs ever recorded. He did a sampling, then Jian pointed out that there really were only 16 good folk songs ever written. The other 5 were crap that Mike just threw in. Mike then broke out into a tune about Canteloupe.
The intro to Boyfriend managed to change from WLUV to CLUV kinda. Well, not really. Dave said CLUV, when they sing the theme, Mike still did the W. The theme just doesn't work without the double-you at the front =) Fell in Love came again, but there was so much background noise, I found myself looking around the venue and not bobbing meaningfully at the music. That was distracting to me, but the guys picked it back up with Get in the Car (with out the Rockford Files lead in) and kept it going with the crowd all the way to Michigan Militia.
Now, let me say that this was the most energetic show I've seen up to this point. They guys were on a huge upward swing and still going. They were moving into MM which is normally a very high evergy song. Well...
The intro started fine with the Bass and Drum kit kicking it, but technical problems grounded it to a halt without Mike's mic. Murray pointed out that we need to sing loudly, because it might get a little ify without the lead vocal. Jian, trying to save stuff, broke into Relax, don't do it... for awhile while Lazlo tried to save the day. Mike's mic was saved and they were ready to get back into when Dave had problems with the Banjo. The entire momentum was pretty gone now. Jian picked up a guitar and did something stupid... I mean, he did the song Something Stupid Like I Love You and finally everything got on its way again.
I think they got lucky, because they were able to salvage some steam because they get into Militia a lot they got it back going again, but I really wish I could have seen what the show would have been if they could have kept going.
The guys joked about Mike not having a voice anymore now and he can only use the Megaphone to speak. The magnetism does something and allows the megaphone to read his mind. But he could only say certain select responses. So they asked him questions and he'd respond with some silly one sentence answer into the microphone. It was so hilarious.
We hit the hand jive with the people around for SauceP'n with more speak about the anti-anti food rallies and being pro-anti-anti-food to take down those anti-anti-anti food people. The groove continued on through Ricer Valley and into Signed Sealed Delivered. Now, in the beginning, the song was okay. Now I love it. I absolutely love how powerful it gets and get really into it. I do wish they let Murray have a verse though =)
The encores got shorter this time, but the set was song. Jian got a little carried away with the Free Love part of the Green Eggs and Ham into. Pumpkins? Kiwi? Chicken? And then they did Boss which was different. And then a final swaying singing drinking song to end the Fruweekend.
This show was long!!! 2 and a half hours probably. But it was awesome. The energy through most of the show was so high and everything clicked so much that it made Albany seem bland in my mind. I came out of the show with a glow and lost of Fruvous in my head.
Afterwards, I met Susan Tanner from Bottom Line and visited with Marcus a little. Then Laurie got Dave over to him the present. Dave got Jian and Mike wandered over and then they all called Murray over too. We had all the guys together at the same time after a show with a crowd of Frufanage around (most of us hadn't seen what's inside either!). They read the thought bubble and started getting ideas. Jian looked smug like he knew what it was and Dave asked if there was a legend, tipping off Mike what it was. Poor Murray waited for them to open it. Jian carefully lifted the side and Dave took out the framed picture of a bunch of Fruheads. The center was the big Philly picture blown up to a big size. It was amazing that there were that many of us smiling at once at Philly. During the show, there many mentions of FalconRidge. Once, there was talk of the big festivals, like Philidelphia, and FalconRidge, the good one. The Philly pic had lots of people. And then in the corners there were smaller pictures. On the back there was a list of who all the people were. They really liked it.
We chatted for a little more until the management kicked us out again. We were hungry so a lot of went to a little diner place to get some food. We had this tetris shaped table thing going on had some last minute (2am - 3:30am) visiting before heading back from whence we came. Jered, Heatherrr, Jenn, and I went back to Laurie's for some sleep before the road the next day and we stayed up talking for awhile about the wonderful weekend and who all was there. Everything was so great and I'll all the wonderful people I met.
(Be sure to check out the articles from
Artvoice and Gusto).
Some other tidbits from the performance include: