BTW, jian informed the audience that some people on [the] newsgroup didn't like the "new" version of GEH, he also said that how they got their start was doing theatre on the streets of Toronto so the GEH "skit" is a returning to their roots.
From Josh Woodward:
Someone else posted the setlist already, so I won't go into much detail. My friends and I managed to get to the venue really early (budgeted 4 hours of travel time, it took 2.5), just in time to hear the soundcheck which was a real treat. They played Lazy Boy, Michigan Militia, Poor Mary Lane, On Her Doorstep, Signed Sealed Delivered, and probably a few more. A real treat to hear.
8:00 or so, doors open, and my ever-growing entourage of BGSU Fruheads staked claim to the front/center tables, knowing that when Fruvous came out they'd be swarmed with dancers. In that time, I decide to scope the place out for other newsgroupers, and found Chad Maloney right away. We then found a few others on here, and of course I forget the names. Ohwell. Johny Vegas was pretty cool. A really unique blend of folk, country, and "alternative"/grunge, which I found odd. It was a nice, safe opener.
As planned, they leave the stage and the mob swarms forward. Goodbye, table! But in the move, me and my friend were able to grab front and dead center positions. I know a lot of people like to relax and see them from a distance, but the experience is so much more intense in the middle of everything. Fruvous comes on as always, fashionably late. This being my first show of the new tour, I was of course blown away by the 1-2-3 punch of "new" stuff (Message, Mary, Doorstep). They were really in top form; musically nailing everything. Dave looked a little tired at first but warmed up. The new Your New Boyfriend was a huge highlight for me; I found myself really liking the song for the first time. The humor really shows through more in the "tender" version. ;) Boo Time as jazz/scat/whatever was also very nice. Now if they'd only do something with Incredible Medicine Show to make it better live, like shorten it even... ;)
Encore 1 opens with GE&H, full version. Which, of course, I had never heard. Not all that different but still neat. The second "he's gonna try them" at the end when Jian delayed the "I don't eat that stuff" line was funny. :) Fell In Love was a rare treat as well.
All in all, probably the best Fruvous show I've seen so far. I'm hoping tonight's show in Pontiac will be even better, as I was able to convince Dave to get the Kids Song on the setlist, which is my current favorite. We'll see.
From Chad Maloney:
Another great Moxy Fruvous performance! This time, the place was Ludlow's in Columbus OH. This is more in my neck of the woods, so I was able to leave after work and drive over to Columbus to catch the show. Of course Indiana and its backwoods time zone that doesn't switch day light savings tried its best to waylay me, but I won!
On the way, while switching CDs in my car, I caught a snipped of something that sounded familiar on the radio. On some oldies station that is the same as NPR in Indianapolis, they were playing Signed, Sealed, Delivered. Well, coincedences like that make for a smiling me and I happily sung along, breaking into Alphabet Street when I wasn't supposed to. Oh well...
I got to Ludlow's about 7:15 (doors were at 8pm). There were a couple people there, but not many. I spotted an ng pin, but prioritized the bathroom above meeting people and walked across the street in search of one. I got redirected by various people until I won that game and started walking back to the venue.
When I was about to cross the street, the window from a bar/grill started beating at me. I looked through it and Andi (I still don't know how to spell that, but I met her in Bloomington at my first show) and her mom were on the other side. So I hopped into the bar/grill and we got to talking. Looks like she'll be at some of the shows I'll be at for a bit which is cool for both of us since we don't know many midwest people. She is promoting the Louisville show for the guys...
When I got back to the venue, the line was much much bigger. I started meeting people in line and chatting with them about Fruvous and stuff. Everyone was really nice and I met so many people that I don't remember all the names. It took awhile, but the line started going.
The show had a really good turnout! I was pleasantly surprised. I walked around brandishing my ng pin trying to meet people. I was pretty far back in the line, so I figured the best people to meet would be the people with not full table sitting in the very front and then work back from there =) It turned out the whole front was populated by Josh Woodward and friends. It was great to meet all of them cuz they were all great people. Josh and I made the rounds of the place, searching out ng pinned people, people with neat Fruvous gear, people sitting under large yellow beer signs, and just anyone that looked like they needed talking to. Colleen had met someone on a plan that she got into Fruvous (yay Colleen, word-o-mouth grass movements at their best) and he was supposed to be there, but I didn't find him before Johny Vegas took the stage. We did meet Marty Cosgrove though. That was cool.
Johny Vegas was really good! I was very impressed with how tight the bass and drums were and they all really looked like they were having a great time and it showed. I would have bought a disc, but I didn't catch Marcus until the very end and the guys from Johny Vegas had already packed. I'll catch em in Champaign.
In between sets, we relinquished our table for standing space in front of the stage (about 2 feet in front of our table =). The stage was about 4 feet high, so I didn't feel bad being tall. We were all packed in. In the crowd, I met Jenny whom I met at Philly. Actually she met me again =) I also met someone with a really old Fruvous shirt on with Moxy Fruvous in white on a black shirt circled on the front and the old web address, alt.fan.moxy-fruvous, and alt.music.moxy-fruvous on the back. Kinda cool. He has been a fan since the Indie tape which is great!
Fruvous started out with the a cappella Message. The crowd got into everything really fast which was great. The first three tunes went down straight through with only a little greeting between Mary Lane and Doorstep. Before Militia, there was banter about how immigrants are bad and how we shouldn't let immigrants into our country (all sarcastic of course). Jian blurted out how we should get rid of all the brown people, well, except him. Actually we're pro-immigration, but here is a song with another opinion about some people from your country - Michigan Militia.
I could only get a couple people to hand jive for SauceP'n, but hey, what are you gonna do. Laxy Boy came next with the Stereo that rocks lead-in followed by Boo Time. Mike really got into the animal noises at the beginning and it was redone again in the scat section in the middle. Moon came next. In the intro, Murray talked about how when Fruvous gets huge and starts playing to 20,000 people, they'll all get those peter pan flying wires and soar around for most of the songs. Dave pointed out how well this Earth has done for us and they went into YWGTTM.
There was a running gag about the guys in England when they played at the same festival the Sex Pistols played. There were like 59,000 sleeping people and 1,000 people throwing everything they had at the stage. The show was just terrible since the Sex Pistols had like 1 album so they had 10 songs for 2 hours. So, Johnny Rotten would just get up there and talk. He would say things like, you all are terrible in society today. Everyone just wants to do the same things. Why can't someone do something different. Have an original though. Be like me! Encouraging someone to be non-conform by getting to conform. Okay. Sure =) That popped up in several places.
The issue for the night was that of truant students. The Columbus paper had a front page article on students skipping school and how their parents will be thrown in jail if it continues. This led on into discussions of how kids can do anything and their parents take the blame. Jian pointed out the US's fixation with the death penaltly, so a kid murders someone, their parents get the electric chair. Each Frulad entertained their own notions of parents getting in trouble for what the kids do.
Jian noted on how the crowd was very handsome and then got in trouble talking about Boston some and how they were mean(?) and Murray said "Jian, you've dug yourself a deep hole there". Now, you see, I started really really laughing at this because in Buffalo, Jered had this article about a guy who dug a really deep whole on the beach. Of course no one else got it, so I looked silly, but that was okay.
Before Get in the Car or Medicine Show (one of the ones where Mike plays the electric), Mike was jamming out on the rif from the song and Jian introduced the Mike Ford Theme instead of the tune. Mike started into an improv song that ended with him threatening to unzip his fly and take out his penis. Needless to say, Mike was having a good show and a fun time tonight.
Ash Hash followed YWGTTM. It was pointed out how many of the big stars are really just hashheads. They spend all their money on hash. Next came Your New Boyfriend. WLUV is back again and Dave stressed on how he could somehow pick up some station on his long distance shortwave radio which prompted some teasing (all that has to do with the change to CLUV before because canadien stations start with C). The Troy and Tim talk came out great, but a little contrived at times.
Fell in Love, Get in the Car, Medicine Show, BJ, and Video B'ville went by. I never noticed this before, but they really hit the rocking songs in a line at the end after Fell in Love. They take the energy from the slow song and just blow through the high speed tunes to the end. I got swept up in it and it was great. The King of Spain graced us with an appearance and had some great talk about Rhombi (rhombuses?). Rhombus, Columbus rhyming =) and in the end, he was jamming with Moxy Rhombus. Signed, Sealed, Delivered was great again. The audience really got into it too.
The first encore brought out the Full Version of GE&H. Everyone really got into this one after the initial What are they doing?!?! wore off. When Mike introduces Dr. Suess, people were still in shock so I yelled pretty loudly at the Spaghetti book and Mike went Thanks Chad on stage. That just freaked me out. All the people I met in the standing around stared at me being freaked out and then it all kept going. Great boos. Great cheers. More free love groans. Murray sizzled. We pointed at Dave. In the middle during the Beatles part Mike asked us to throw stuff at him. I continued to throw my wallet at him which landed on stage and laid there until after the show. GE&H was great with this crowd.
Afterwards, Jian addresses the newsgroup post about Boston and how the skits may be a bit too much. He explained that this was the way they started and that we saw the full entire version of Green Eggs and Ham while the other one was a pared down version so that it would fit in the vibe of the show. FDC got a good plug here too (yay!).
Next in the encore came Fly and then a surprise. They were Moxy Fruvous from Toronto and their babies loved a bunch of authors. It was a nice change and came off well. I think there were a lot of older fans (not age old, people that have been fans for a long time) in Columbus, so they hit B'ville pretty hard.
The second encore brought the sunglasses and Grunge of Spain followed by a swaying Drinking Song.
Overall the show was great. Very high energy and it seemed like the guys were enjoying themselves after their days away from touring. They did something on the radio that afternoon and then the show and are off to Pontiac next.
Afterwards, there were a lot of people staying around. That was surprising too. I walked around and said by to all the new people I met and ran into the man Colleen met on the plane. He had enjoyed the show and we compared Set Lists and I helped him with song names. He had picked up Wood and "b" to go along with his store bought B'Ville and YWGTTM and was interested in hearing stuff more closely. We chatted for awhile and then Andi, her mom and I talked too until the crowds started to thin out.
I said Hi to everyone but Dave, who was hiding someone probably recovering from the heat exhaustion from the vinyl pants. Murray had another bass. He got interrupted telling me the story of it, but it was a maple-glo 70's Fender I think. I had a semi-long drive home and work in the morning so I said bye to all the great people I met and drove back to wonderful Indianapolis to my bed...
From Mark Freeman:
It is I, CeeCee's "guy from the plane", weighing in late with my own rather long-winded review of my introduction to Moxie Fuvous and the 10/8 Columbus concert. That first sentence should give you an idea of the ordeal ahead of you if you continue reading. :-)
Since Josh and Chad already posted their reviews, I'll try to avoid duplicating things they already posted.
For those of you who haven't heard the tale, I sat next to CeeCee on one leg of her flight to Boston (I was returning from a week of visiting my brother near Ft. Lauderdale). In the two hours or so that we spent together, we became fast friends and of course, she turned me on to Moxie Fruvous. She played me "You Will Go To The Moon" and "Billie Jean Medley" and told me about a.m.m-f and FDC. This was on 9/27.
A few days later, I checked out FDC and saw that -- surprise! -- the Fru4 were coming to Columbus in about a week. A few days later, my sister-in-law gave me a gift certificate to Media Play for my birthday. Of course, I went hunting for Fru4 CDs and scored with "You Will Go To The Moon" and "Bargainville". After playing them each once, I went out and bought a ticket to the show.
Unfortunately, there was no way to get a babysitter (I have a 3 year old daughter) to stay out so late on a school night, so I had to leave my wife at home. None of my friends wanted to stay out so late on a work night to see a band they'd never heard of. So, I was to go alone. I sent email to Marty, who was listed on FDC as one of the faithful who lived in Columbus, but I never did get a response.
I didn't have a chance to read any of the newsgroup messages before the show, but after more thoroughly checking out FDC and reading some of the concert reviews and other interesting pieces of information there, I decided to take some of my toys with me -- a VHS-C camcorder and my 35mm SLR and 3 lenses. Alas, I have no portable audio gear.
The ticket said the show started at 8, which I guessed to be a lie. However, I knew I needed to get good seats if I wanted decent pictures. So, I left the house at 7:15 for the long journey to Ludlows. :-) I arrived at 7:45, hunted a bit and found a great free parking spot, and joined the line, which was only a dozen or so people. By 8:15 or so when they got around to opening the doors, the line was rather lengthy. I didn't really talk to anyone in line, as I felt a little out of place. Partially because I was new to the band and partially because everyone I saw was so much younger than me (I'm 37, but CeeCee guessed me at 46 on the plane; I still like her anyway :-).
Ludlows is laid out somewhat strangely. The place is divided up so that the left 1/3 of the place is about 4 feet lower than the rest until about halfway toward the back of the club, where the stage in positioned. The stage is at the same height as the front 2/3 of the club. Behind the stage is a curtain, and behind that is a large area with pool tables, rest rooms, etc. There were tables on both the lower and main levels.
Of course, most people went straight for the lower level, getting as close to the stage as they could. I didn't want that, as I'd end up photographing the band's from underneath. Instead, I managed to get the second closest table to the stage, on the same level as the stage. This put me at about a 45 degree angle from the stage, but reasonable close. I was higher than the crowd I expected to gather at the front of the stage, and had a great sightline for taking pictures.
The pre-show tunes on the PA were quite good, and a good part of crowd was singing along to much of it. It ran the range from the Talking Heads to Frank Sinatra, but somehow it all seemed to work. I looked around, and only saw about a half-dozen people that looked to be around my age or older. I saw a lot of people who had the "under 21" black "X" across their hand in black marker, courtesy of the bar staff. (In the line, the guy asking to see ID's just gave me the "over 21" wristband without even asking for my ID. I'm still not sure how I feel about that. I've got graying hair and a graying beard, so I certainly don't look 19 anymore, but I didn't need to have it rubbed in. :-)
Johny Vegas took the stage at 9:00. They were better than I was expecting, playing a 45 minute set of 12 songs. They were animated, having a good time, and playing lots of tunes with different rhythms. Their songs didn't all sound the same, such as is true of so many bands. The arrangements were interesting, the lyrics seemed to matter, and they sang some harmonies, although nothing complex. Certainly nothing in the Moxy Fruvous league. They recently recorded a new as-yet unreleased CD, abnd played some of that unreleased material. It included "Grandma's Silverware" which Moxie Fruvous sang on for them in the studio. They said they were good friends with the Fru4, and were opening for several of their shows on this tour.
You can check out www.johnyvegas.com for more information about the group, but it doesn't say anything about the new CD yet. Toward the end of their set, the material got into more mainstream rock, and I thought it wasn't as good as their more unconventional material. The crowd seemed to agree with me, as many people seemed to lose interest at that point. However, even those songs had some decent lyrics and hooks. I got some good photographs of the band.
I was surprised when the roadies were rearranging the stage for the Fru4. I mean, I never saw anyone play a drum set that small other than maybe the "Stray Cats". Oh well, I knew this band was unusual. I looked around a bit to see if anyone was wearing the a.m.m-f pins I had read about, but didn't see any. I took this opportunity to purchase "Wood" and "b" CDs from Marcus. It was interesting knowing everyone's names before I got there thanks to FDC. During this time, all the space in front of the stage formerly occupied by a few tables vanished under a crowd of people, as expected.
Moxie Fruvous took the stage at about 10:45, opening with an a cappella version of "Gotta Get a Message To You". Say what you want about their contributions to the disco era, the brothers Gibb wrote a lot of great material before 1977 and after their disco phase as well. I'm a sucker for a cappella harmonies anyway, and I really liked this arrangement. It was a great opener.
They joked that "Michigan Militia" was in the popular tradition of Canadians singing songs about Americans.
After "Johnny Saucep'n", they told a story about playing at the same festival in England as the Sex Pistols (pointing out that they played on a different and less significant stage). The key phrase that Johnny Rotten said was "Have an original thought...just like me!" (with the appropriate heavy English accent). This became a running gag throughout the show.
The jazz/scat version of Boo Time was great, with a very participatory crowd helping with a call and response segment involving lots of animal noises and other weird sounds. It was big fun, ending with a chant of "Reefer on your plate in the Buckeye State" (one of the things Ohio is known as).
During the intro to "Ash Hash", much was made about Garth Brooks' drug preferences. Possibly true, possibly just as a reaction to finding out that more people saw him in Columbus this year than any other act. He actually played a baseball stadium 6 nights in a row this summer.
The WLUV routine as an intro to "Your New Boyfriend" was amusing. I disagree with the folks who said it seemed contrived. Rather, it seemed to me like something that had been rehearsed until it was perfect, then done so many more times that they lost interest in doing it well. I'm probably wrong about that, but that's how it felt to me. At least they had fun with it, and so did we.
The alternate version of "Your New Boyfriend" was wonderful, and seemed to be a different arrangement as well as a different tempo. Like Josh, I too got a greater appreciation for the song having heard it done this way. Having only heard it on CD a few times before the show, I didn't recognize which song it was until some ways into it.
After "Fell in Love", which was even more beautiful live than on CD, Jian pulled out a copy of the Columbus Dispatch, the only daily newspaper we have left, and said "Is anyone here from Springfield Ohio? I hope not, because we're about to trash it!" He read highlights from a front page story about Springfield's new law that holds parents *criminally* liable for their kids being truant. Parents can actually be sentenced to jail time if their kids miss school. Jian offered each member of the group a chance to comment on whether he agreed with the law or not, and each offered some further (and farther out) "logical" extension of this concept. Jian then told the crowd that we should discuss it among ourselves and get back to him...later.
Somehow, the word "Rhombus" became a running gag, but I missed how it started. It was worked into several songs.
The big ending was a rousing version of "Signed Sealed Delivered", another really great cover. My personal feeling about covers is that a reasonably successful band has no reason to do any unless they bring something new to the material, or just because they really enjoy doing it. "Message" fits into the former category, and "Signed" into the latter.
I was quite surprised when Jian started the first encore off with a mention of both the newsgroup and web site. Maybe I haven't been around the clubs in too long, but I thought it was really cool that the band was so interested in their fans that they read this kind of stuff. I'd bet most bands, television producers and writers, and other such folks don't really seek out that kind of direct feedback. (One notable exception is JMS from "Babylon 5".)
His point was that the "extended" version of "Green Eggs and Ham" is the way they started out doing it seven years ago as "buskers". The shorter version was edited down from the original. In general, I like the band's theatrical approach to their shows. They not only seem to be enjoying what they are doing, they also seem to be involved in what they are singing. You don't see them smiling and clowning during emotional material. Rather, whoever is singing looks like they are really in the situation they are singing about, and getting into the feeling of the song.
I really dislike singers that smile and flirt with the crowd while singing about love lost and other such things. It is disrespectful of the material. While the Fru4 certainly don't take themselves too seriously, it's good to see that they don't inappropriately make light of their more profound work. They still manage to improvise and clown around with the tunes that are a better platform for that kind of embellishment. And they do it really well.
All that said, and with the understanding that I haven't heard the short version of "Green Eggs and Ham", I do feel that the original is too long and is likely funnier, more entertaining, and generally better in a shorter version. I did enjoy it, but the beginning seemed to drag.
Jian as the pope was pretty funny at first, but went on a little long and eventually came unusually close to "in poor taste" rather than funny, IMHO.
The first encore ended with a strong "My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors", which I really enjoyed. I get the impression that many long time fans are tired of hearing it in concert, but I'm glad they played it.
The second encore started with the Fru4 in hats and sunglasses, doing what some refer to as "Grunge of Spain". It seems much heavier than grunge to me, almost metal or acid rock. I read a post or review in which someone mentioned it was possibly a swipe at U2 as well as the whole grunge movement, and that makes sense to me.
Clearly sensing that we had no intention of letting them leave, Jian made very clear at this point that their next song was definitely to be their last of the evening. And they ended, as I hear is traditional, with "The Drinking Song", with everyone swaying along. The group left the stage for the last time at 12:20. 22 songs in about 90 minutes. I'd have loved to have had them play twice that long, but I certainly felt like I got more than my money's worth. I've been to a LOT of shows (I used to do roadie, sound, lighting and promotion for various organizations, groups, and venues before I got serious about computers), and enjoyed this one more than the vast majority of them.
The sound was good (not great, but great would have been almost impossible to achieve in this club), and the volume level was reasonable. Shows that are too loud are a pet peeve of mine, as they often involve incompetence, a bizarre belief that louder is always better, or too much drinking before the show by the sound man, which I consider unprofessional. When I was doing that kind of work, I took it VERY seriously. I mention this because the review on FDC of the 4/23/97 concert at this same club made special mention of how loud it was. This one seemed fine to me.
Anyway, the set lists magically levitated into the crowd at the front of the stage as if by telekinesis, and the crowd started thinning out. I wanted to get a CD autographed if I could, so I went back to the pool table area near the dressing room and found about 3 dozen people hanging around the band. Each member of the band was a good 15 feet from each other, and each was surrounded by fans. Jian got the most attention. That's understandable given how expressive he is on stage, and that he seems to be the front man for the group much of the time. However, I think they all deserve that kind of attention for their part of an act that is certainly more than the sum of its parts.
Jian was closest to me, so I waited my turn as he signed autographs for others, most often on ticket stubs and "frequent flyer" cards, but sometimes actually on a CD. I asked him to autograph the booklet from "b", since that provided more white space than the other alternatives. I also figured it was somehow more truly "Fru-ish" a CD than the others, which are obviously more mainstream. I told Jian that this was my first show, and that I really enjoyed it. He asked how I heard about them, and I told him about my trip with Colleen. He said that she was turning out to be their unofficial public relations/marketing manager. What he wrote for me was "Mark, Glad that cee cee sent you!" and then signed something that certainly starts with a "J" but is open to interpretation after that. :-)
Dave wrote "Thanks Mark" and signed. Murray wrote "Hello Mark!" and signed. Mike wrote "La primera!!" and signed sideways, which seems to confirm my suspicion that he is probably the most twisted of the group. I like that about him. It was cool to see the guys not just signing an autograph and moving along to the next person. They were really talking with people, learning names, where they are from, and what they liked. They always personalize their autographs too. I think this is pretty unusual, and I can see why the group has such a devoted following. One girl wanted the guys to autograph her left arm. I could just picture the almost inevitable argument with her mother several days down the line about why she can't wash that arm... Anyway, they guys thought this was pretty funny, and Mike signed to "The Arm" in rather large bold letters. There was a mother there getting autographs with a couple of her (I assume) teenage kids. Not something I recall ever seeing before at a concert.
Being quite new to their music, I didn't really have much intelligent conversation to offer, so I moved along to let others have their time with the group. As I was getting ready to leave, I saw someone putting something in their coat pocket that looked like a tape. I stopped him and asked if he had taped the show. He said that he didn't, but he thinks Josh did. We introduced ourselves, and he knew from my name that I was the guy CeeCee met on the plane. It's pretty wild how fast the news travels sometimes. He turned out to be Chad from Indianapolis, and we had a nice talk for a while. Then, he was off to talk to Marcus and I headed home. I didn't get to meet Josh or Marty.
My camcorder was confused by the lighting on stage at Ludlows (which was surprisingly low in brightness and pretty boring, truth be told) and overcompensated, so it is somewhat washed out. However, I got "Ash Hash", "Get in the Car", and "Green Eggs and Ham" on video. The sound (mono) is decent.
Due to my distance from the stage and the limitations of my flash unit (internal to my camera) most of my still photos suffer from terrible red-eye, which I will have to fix when I get around to buying a scanner. (I have Photoshop and a color DeskJet with a photo color cartridge, but no scanner.) Except for the fact that the guys all look posessed because of the red-eye, they are otherwise quite good, IMHO. Should I eventually get them scanned and fixed, I'll post them.
Anyway, I'm glad to have been able to go to the show, and to share a bit of it
with those of you that couldn't be there. I wish I could see a few more in the
near future, but I can't travel much. Maybe Cleveland though...
Some other tidbits from the performance include: