Well, I finally managed to catch these guys earlier this evening at the Union Station Veranda in Nashville (and managed to make a halfway decent dat copy, but more on that later). Being a resident of the south I don't get a whole lot of exposure to live Fruvous except through tapes, so I was really excited about seeing them and being blown away!
Well they didn't blow me away like I thought, but they were good.
First of all, they were the second act on a triple bill that was fairly bizarre overall. Opening the show was a band called Jupiter Coyote, who were very impressive with their long jams (even if they were all in the key of G). Definitely more along the lines of Widespread Panic, so that was kind of odd. Closing the show was Kentucky Thunder, featuring the dynamic vocals of Sheila Lawrence, Etta Britt and the incomparable Jonell Mosser. Also very southern rockish, so Fruvous in the middle was really a study in contrasts. Ok, on to the show:
Jian was having some kick drum problems, so the guys sort of jammed along to Marvin Gay's "What's Going On?" until he was ready. First up was "Message" which was sung wonderfully. They followed this up with "BJ" and "River Valley". Two songs I'm not terribly fond of, but still well played. Next was a rockin' "Get In The Car" that really made up for the two previous tunes (for me, at least).
Things came down a little then with "Horseshoes". Listening to this song always reminds me of Crosby Stills and Nash for some reason. During the song they were trying to move one of the stage lights so it would shine on Murray, who was pretty much standing in the dark. They finally gave up and after the song he made light (no pun intended!) of the situation. Next up was "Lazy Boy", with wonderful scatting on everyone's part. They followed this up with a very jazzy "Boo Time" and a zippy "YWGTTM".
With a flourish the band broke into "Greatest Man In America". I looked around and saw a lot of folks rolling with laughter. After the song they made a disclaimer about the song, making sure no-one thought it was about the Canadian supergroup Rush. The next song was "Fly", which was tremendous. Jian asked that people not patronize McDonald's for a few days so there would be more Burger King and KFC signs popping up. The banjo came out and "Michigan Militia" and "Johnny Saucep'n" were up next. Time was running out on them, so they wrapped up with "KOS-> GEH-> Love Potion Medley", which had quite a few folks going crazy. With the reaction they got, I was a little surprised they didn't get the opportunity to do an encore, but they did play about 70 minutes all told.
From Chris Traugott:
Nashville…. The town where all the churches are on Commerce Street and all the liquor stores are on Church Street. In a feat of timing worthy of Dan Jablonski, my job had sent me to Indiana the week before the Nashville show, so I found myself on Friday afternoon mere miles from Chad Maloney, who was driving down to Nashville. He picked me up at my hotel, and after taking the scenic tour of Bloomington (courtesy of Rand McNally and bad sign posting, Zard!), we drove to Louisville to pick up Andi. A three hour ride through Kentucky and Tennessee gave Chad and me plenty of time to catch up on doings since the Philly fest (which for him had included plenty of Fru shows) *and* to finally determine which of Murray's basses was toasted. (For those who are interested, it turns out that Chad and I were talking about the same bass. The Spector name for the instrument's color is coral, it is the one I kept referring to as the "wood toned" one. Fortunately Andi had brought along some pictures to get us straightened out!) Also had a chance to get to know Andi, an ng lurker (okay Andi, you are outted now! ;-) ), and experience yet another instance of fruheads having a lot in common in terms of shared interests and hobbies.
We pulled into Nashville around 5:30, found a place to park, and scooted inside. Almost immediately ran into Heather, ceecee's little sister, who was instantly recognizable by the trademark long blond hair. Before long Chad's friend Andy and ceecee's and Heather's friend Stevie showed up, and found seats (well, floor space, actually) close up to the stage.
The venue was a train station that had been converted into a swank hotel, complete with marble floors, rich wood paneling and stained glass windows. The stage was set up on a terrace overlooking the river, the old train tracks and a parking area; the guys joked that it was good to be able to keep an eye on their van while they played. The stage managers apparently used the "spectrum method" of lighting the stage; the far right of the platform, where Dave usually stands, was lit by a blinding yellow light (Dave joked that he couldn't see the audience when he stood under it and got teased about the reflection off his bald head) while Murray played in near darkness on the left.
The set list was more of an "old fashioned" fruvous show, and included: Message (a cappella version), BJ, River Valley, Michigan Militia, Get in the Car, Fly, King of Spain, GH&E (shortened version), Boo Time, You Will Go to the Moon and Love Potion #9 (Chad, Andi, help me out here! :-) )
The audience (mostly people who had come by after work for happy hour) seemed largely unfamiliar with Fruvous, but got into the music and before long had pushed closer to the stage for a better view. One particularly small audience member was especially enthusiastic; three songs into the set this 9-month old started waving her arms in the air and bouncing up and down in her mom's lap in time to the music. She must have gotten very excited during Get in the Car, because Jian commented that she really started bouncing at the mention of Billy Ocean.
All in all a good, high energy set, and quite a few folks surrounded Marcus after the show in search of cds and mailing lists. Dave and Murray came out afterwards to sign autographs and talk with folk, while Cal hurriedly cleared the stage for the next band. We scooted out fairly quickly to forage for food, which turned out to be more of a challenge than expected for dinner, and impossible the next day for breakfast. Plenty o' stores open to sell boots at 10 am, but nary a coffee house in site.
From Andi Fitzer:
Okay, no more "lurking," I'm coming out of the "Fruvous Closet" as promised! The Nashville show Friday night marked my first experience seeing show's as a "fruhead" and with other "Fruheads," (I'm usually a promoter-in Louisville, a friend, and/or a fan) and let me say...it was FUN! Chad M. and Chris T. picked me up around 4:00 Friday afternoon, which was much later than we had hoped due to their difficulties finding their way out of Bloomington, IN! That put us in "rush mode" to make it to Nashville for the 6:00 (central) show at Union Station, but we made with time to spare! - Go Chad!
They were playing outside on the terrace of Union Station, which overlooked the river and the parking lot! (The guys seemed to like the fact that they could keep an eye on their van while they played.) The majority of the audience looked to be the "after work" crowd there to wind down, drink, and socialize - not really to pay close attention to the bands. (well, the first band anyway! :-)) Overall, it certainly didn't have the "feel" of most Fruvous shows, but... it was a beautiful evening, we had a great spot right up front, and were among good friends. We felt pretty good and cheer abounded! (especially for Chris T. and I, with the help of alittle Murphy's Irish Ale on empty stomachs! :-))
Moxy came on about 6:30 and played a very energetic set that lasted a little over an hour, I think. After about the first couple of songs, I noticed the audience beginning to drift towards the front, and by the middle of the show everyone was groovin' along! - I've discovered Moxy Fruvous is like an infectious virus, if you even get near them, that's it - they get inside of you and take over!!!! And there seems to be NO CURE!! :-)
After the show, we got our stamps and chatted with the band a while before
heading off in search of food and shelter. It was a shame we weren't
looking for a pair of boots, they would have been easier to find! See you
Some other tidbits from the performance include: