Just when I thought it couldn't get any better after Ann Arbor, the guys just go nuts. 7 new Fruvous tunes, a brand new cover, and a whole ton of rarities -- and a whole lot of unexpected concert attendees. :-) Setlist now for salivation purposes, review later after Pittsburgh.
From Chris Traugott:
Every once in a great while, my real life and my Fruvous life happily coincide (or is that collide?). Such was the case this past Monday, when work brought me to Indiana, a mere two hours from the Louisville show. So, after work I high tailed it south and met up with a bunch of fruheads, some of whom I'd expected to see there, and others whose presence was a happy surprise.
The venue, Clifton's, is a small, funky pizza place with a small stage and hundreds of clocks adorning the walls. None of which showed the correct time, I think Fruvous must have felt right at home. ;-)
We settled in our seats and waited expectantly. There was no opening act, so we were treated to four solos by the fru-lads, each of whom assumed a ridiculous, stereotypically "southern" sounding name. Dave sang My Poor Generation, which seemed to me, on first hearing, an interesting and rather melancholy counterpoint to the Who's My Generation. Mike followed with a song he said he had written while on tour in England, a country he "sincerely hoped he'd never visit again. And you can put that on the 'net." (Sorry Richard). The song was called (I believe) Get Down From There, and he said he wrote it because he missed his beloved so much while on tour. Jian came out and sang Follow the Road, a series of vignettes about people from the very young to the very old trying to find their road. Then came Murray. He began his introduction by joking "This conceit (of pretending not to be Fruvous) is getting kind of old, isn't it." And then talked about what an influence Elvis Costello had been on Fruvous, "especially on the bass player" and proceeded to sing Indoor Fireworks. As predicted, I became a blithering pool of idiocy from the first note. Indoor Fireworks is a knee-trembler of a song to begin with, Murray's rendition of it was exquisite. Fortunately, I was sitting down and had Zard holding on to one side of me and Chad holding on to the other, so I neither flew to the ceiling nor slid from the chair to the floor, thereby retaining some shred, however minor, of dignity.
Then the guys came back out as Fruvous, and sang "That Boy" a song popularized by the Beatles in the early sixties (it was actually written by someone else, I forget by whom). Then they launched into Michigan Militia, followed by Jockey full of Bourbon. The guys were really on, and did a number of improvs, including one called contraceptive jam (Mike, who knows what was going on in the playground of his mind on *that* one), and My Guy for a guy in the audience who was wearing a green shirt. Jian claimed he was "his guy" for the evening, meaning the person he was going to focus on during the show, and Murray said "But he's *my* guy." Jian said he had been watching the guy since he walked in, guessed he was a Fruvous virgin, asked who had brought him, and said, "You see, now I've established a dialogue with you, you have stay whether you like us or not, because you know I'm watching." The guys went on to joke about how fun it was to play with the house lights up, when they could actually see the audience.
At one point, after a few snippets from Duran Duran songs, Murray offered that Fruvous were actually doing a 90's retro night with all the Duran Duran tunes. Jian challenged him on this saying it would actually be an *80's* retro night if they were playing DD, which Murray countered with, "But we are in the 90's now, so it is a 90's, retro night." This led to a little bickering session of interrogative statements like "I think we need to work this out through consensus?" (Jian) and "I think I am putting my feelings before your feelings?" (Murray, repeatedly, which had Chad and me in stitches.) Finally Mike performed an "intervention" with something like "I think we need to focus a little here. Visualize the basket. Calm, consensus, visualize the basket." Murray gave him this withering look and said, "I'm having a hard time visualizing the basket." Chad and I lost it.
We also heard Sad Girl and I Will Hold On, both of which get better with each hearing, and for the first time I heard Sleepy Drinker and Pisco Bandito. I loved Sleepy Drinker, such a nice swingy kind of song, it just gets me in the mood for a good single malt out on the back porch. And Pisco Bandito is delightful, the music is so fun and updeat, and the lyrics funny but also a little sad. This poor Mexican fish plying his trade in the frigid waters of Canada and sending the money home. The guys also did Mistra Know It All and Murray followed Dave's entreaty to "play me something stompin' in the bass" by doing just that. Once again, Chad and I were ecstatic. Kick in the Ass rounded out the "rarely heard" category. The guys ended with an off-mic version of Gulf War Song, beautiful as always.
There was a lot more in between, but I'm pretty wiped out from the killer drive back to Bloomington (dark, twisty roads, sheets of rain defeating the rental car's bad wipers, lightening, wind and fog effects worthy of a Spielberg production)followed by two long days of "facilitating" a client meeting. Plus, Indoor Fireworks fried my circuits in a big way. Big ol' goofy grin on my face. :-) So, sorry for the short review, but it was a wonderful show, probably the best I've seen since Lee's Palace.
Hope to see some of you all out at Columbia this Friday!
From Chad Maloney:
Louisville is pretty close to me. I was laughed at when I referred to Louisville as "the band coming to me" in Arkansas, but hey, it is one of the closest they get to me and I enjoy it. It also gives me a chance to visit Louisville Andi, not to be confused with Louisville Slugger, whom I hadn't seen since the convention. Plus Marty and Mary are there, though they had more responsibility this time, they planned a great shin-dig that was enjoyable to all. So, Andy Harrison and I dropped in the car and ventured south down one of the remain unused Interstates from Indianapolis for the past two weeks.
After lotsa pre-show hugging with some special appearances and some pre-show pizza and catching up, we went up to the show half of the pizza parlor to sit down. The show half had a front side that was lined with chairs, about 10 across maybe and 10 deep and then a side side with tables and chairs along the wall. Behind the stage, there was a Moxy Fruvous banner in Fruvous-font. To the left of the stage were stairs going down to the street. Dave (Toby, Dave) was setup in the pizza parlor section and enjoying some yummy-looking pasta. They had Bass on tap too. Always useful =)
Marty Rosen came up and introduced the night. He said that the lads from Moxy Fruvous were going to be on a bit later, but first a couple local acts were going to come on and play a bit. This got a buzz going from the second row as imaginations started running wild.
A bald man came on first and introduced himself as some guy with a couple of first names, a local pot farmer. He was gonna come up here and play song for us all. Dave played a song probably called Poor Generation about his generation and whats happening to them. Just Dave on acoustic and singing to a quiet audience. As he left, he places the acoustic back on the stand and thanks everyone for listening, there'll be another out in a bit.
Mike comes out next and introduces himself as a Narc agent who has been having a rather slow month. But then that first guy came along and pretty much fell in his lap. Said a bit too much, that first guy did. He introed his song as a tune he wrote when in England, a place he never hopes to visit again, and proclaimed "And you can put that on the net" after saying it. He then said the song stemmed from missing his beloved on the road so much. The song was a good driving jazzy feel song with some great words. I figured this one would be my favorite, so I'd remember more, but it wasn't. Sorry Fordy.
Jian came out next and started talking in a thick accent, with scattered laughs in the middle. I don't remember anything he said at all, but for a very good reason. I remember as much of his song as I could possibly do after hearing it once after two other songs I had never heard before. The song was beautiful. The imagery was great and the song itself was flowing and just wonderful. More on that a bit later. Like after the next paragraph. The song was a visual story of people at different ages all trying to find and follow the road, from young to old. Amazing.
Murray came in last. He reluctantly selected his Kentucky name, pointing out that the crowd all knew what was up and we were all getting tired of the conceit. A couple of times when he was explaining how much of an influence Elvis Costello has had on the band, he slipped back into talking about himself in terms of Fruvous and then curses this silly conceit. Mur then sang Indoor Fireworks (great song - buy King of America if you don't have it or if you just want a first Elvis disc, there's this green Best of that is kinda new that has like 22 tracks - Indoor Fireworks is #21 by the way or #6 on King of America. Random facts for you there *grin*). Arms went around Chris Traugott, eyes closed, and at least our row beamed at a performance of a great Elvis song. My eyes were closed or watching Mur, so I don't know how everyone else reacted. Of course I remember all the lyrics to this one, but I knew them coming in...
So, at this point, well actually after collectively hearing some of the new songs a couple times and then after these solos, the lyrical talent of these lads just amazes me. I mean, Wood has some great lyrics. But the new songs like Sad Girl and Pisco Bandito have wonderful lyrics. Sleepy Drinker too. I get too caught up in the groove of I Will Hold On to catch all the lyrics, but the ones I do catch are witty. It's just so amazing to me that I can be entranced by the music and the complexity of it and then the lyrics do the same thing. The Elvis Costello influence is definitely there. Elvis was THE lyricist. I mean, I get lyrics caught in my head not because of the tune behind them, but because Costello's lyrics are amazing. I'll re-recommend King of America here. It's light on the musical complexity, but a pinnacle of lyrical genius. Anyhow, these lads amaze me continually.
And you know what, there's a show after this. Still a show! Wow. The guys opened with an acapella tune I didn't recognize, but I heard whispers from the right about the Beatles. The song was called That Boy and at the end, guys all pointed at the guy on the end of the second row. Mur was singing the bass line to the tune and I bet both Chris and I were smiling huge at him. He was having fun with it.
After That Boy, the went into Michigan Militia. I always like this song in the beginning because it gets the energy up. Murray's Nemesis combo was pointed right at my head, so there were some good bass tones from where I was. Militia went straight into Jockey Full of Bourbon which is still a great song and another good song to have the Nemesis pointed at your head.
Jian said it was nice to come to Louisville and get away from Canada where it is still covered in snow in ice. He pointed out that Canada is completely covered in snow the entire year, except for like 4 days in August when things melt. Murray thought it was funny that they joke about Canadian stereotypes with lotsa ice and igloos, but when they came out in the beginning they had names like Billy Bob Joe Robert and such. He commented on how it isn't really fair that way.
The King of Spain ventured in early. Early enough that I don't remember any bit of it. Just sorta flowed into the middle of an awesome set.
Before Sad Girl, Mike goes off into this jam that was just awry. It was a kinda funky jam that Mike started because he was playing with the bass. After it quits, Jian comments on how weird it is to play in a room with a clock. Well, here they had clocks all over. It's kinda a reminder to get bad improvs over with *grin*. Murray points out that all the clocks are wrong and have different times and they may just end up playing forever.
We got each of the new songs and each was as good as ever. Sad Girl is getting more solid as they go. Mike is popping more notes on the bass for emphasis. Pisco Bandito is as funny as ever. My favorite line is the "He's no worse than Jean Valjean" and then it goes on to explain exceptions to that line. Good lyrics. Plus Sleepy Drinker and I Will Hold On. They all are sounding better and better each time. I really like Dave's hand slap at the beginning of Pisco (he plays bass on that one, you know).
Speaking of bass, after Boo Time, we got Mistra Knowitall. I had been waiting so long for this one. They were playing it out in the East and came over here and no. But they played it and I had Chris Traugott at my side to enjoy it with me. Oh yeah! There's nothing like a good Stevie Wonder song with a bass solo added to it. Murray's solo got some chording going in the end too. Great cover tune.
Another hilarious point was Mike's Barley jam. We were all hurting from laughing after it. So, durned funny my cheekbones ached and my stomache ached and I almost doubled over laughing.
At a couple points, well, two actually, they broke into Duran Duran stuff. Each time, it died really quickly and Murray blamed it on Duran Duran. Of course, later, when Rio kicked in in the Signed Sealed Delivered medley, the entire crowd cheered. So much for that hypothesis, Murray. Mur said the night is turning into a 90's retro night. Jian quickly corrected him that Duran Duran was an 80's band, so it should be an 80's retro night. Murray politely pointed out that it is the 90's right now and so it is a retro night in the 90's hence a 90's retro night. They bantered back and forth for a bit. Jian said that they hate each other normally, but on stage, they put up with each other. Finally, Mike leads an intervention and asks the two to be quiet and remember what they've been talking about in therapy. Murray tried to get in a word edgewise but Mike shushes him and continues explaining the therapy. Jian and Murray start offering rhetorical questions to Mike as solutions. Murray kept saying that "I feel I am putting my feelings before your feelings?". Mike leads the session onward talking about what is going on and what we do when we are in an intervention. Visualize. Think. Breath. Visualize the basket. Murray again tried to say something, but Jian interrupts him and whines about Mur not trying at all. Eventually, after three tries and lotsa silence, Murray admits to Mike that he is having a problem visualizing the basket. At this point, Chris and I are almost on the floor dying laughing at the guys.
Then Jian and Murray were spatting again later on. Jian picked a guy off to the side who was wearing a green shirt and claimed him as his guy. He started making up stuff about the guy, that this was his first show and his girlfriend who was sitting next to him brought him to the show. He said this because at the beginning, the guy was kinda paying attention and stuff. But when Jian pointed him out and asked how he was, he gave the eh, I'm okay hand motion. You see, he was trying to be a funny guy. But that meant he was more comfortable and enjoying himself. So, Jian claimed the guy as his guy. Murray disagreed, claiming him for himself. They quibbled a bit before launching off into My Guy, a parody of My Girl. Afterwards, Jian threatened the whole audience. He said that the guys have a big red book of information about all of the audience. And sometimes, when they get together and have a little meeting, they talk about the audience and what to say about them and look through the book. So watch out.
This went into Present Tense Tureen which went well. We were sitting down, so Johnny Saucep'n Hand Jiving wasn't too hard. The best part of Saucep'n was that we were (well, I was at least *grin*) trying to speed it up by clapping a little faster. I think Mike caught on and started speeding up the guitar part and it just kept speeding up till the end. It was nice to see Saucep'n in a small place where you can speed up the clapping and really effect them *grin*.
Next came We're Moxy Fruvous, from Canada, and My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors into Get in the Car into the kick drum going for the end. They closed with the Signed Sealed Delivered Medley, putting two Stevie tunes in a night. Good stuff. A string got broken on the electric in the medley and this cut short the first encore. It was planned to be Message and BJ, but stayed with just Message. Message was really good as the encore and sounded great. But the lads came out for more and did an intimate micless Gulf War Song to close the special evening (well, the show portion of the evening, the rest of the evening went rather later). Cal really worked his magic on this one... no... mmmm... guiness.
All in all, this was a very special show. I need a new song that I really
really want to hear, not that I have heard Mistra Knowitall enough yet.
But the combination of Frulads having a good night, an intimate venue,
surprise visitors, a bass heavy show, and having Chris there to enjoy it
with me was incredible. It was no November '97 TLA, but it was a great show.
Definitely the best of the past couple weeks for me. And if enjoyable
time is inversely proportional to recovery time afterward, boy was the
Some other tidbits from the performance include: