You've gotta love the Jersey Shore…flashing lights, corny games, cheap t-shirts, great junk food....and Moxy Fruvous? Yup. Hurricane Fruvous blew into Ocean City last night, and did we ever have a great time.
Though I have been going to Ocean City since I was 4 years old, I had never actually been to a concert in the auditorium at the Music Pier, so I didn't really know what to expect. I got down there around 7:00, got my ticket then took a walk down the boardwalk to Mack & Manco's for pizza and birch beer (my traditional OC boardwalk dinner) and headed back up to the Music Pier. There I ran into Tracey (it is Tracey, right? I am so bad with names!) who I had met the day before at Singer/Songwriter and we chatted a while until Jessica Baskin, Dan Carps and his friend (who's name again is escaping me right now, it's either Amy or Annie, right? (like I said, bad with names - sorry guys!)) arrived. They got their tickets and we went down to walk on the beach a while until showtime.
Before I continue, let me tell you a bit about OC. The town's slogan is "America's Favorite Family Resort", and I stress the word family. OC is a "dry" town (i.e. no alcohol) and there are still "blue laws" on the books regarding what can and can not be open on Sundays. It is a very wholesome environment catering primarily to families, and it also attracts a large community of retirees who spend every Monday evening at the concerts on the Music Pier. Definitely not your typical Fruvous crowd, to say the least. Those sweet little old ladies had no idea what they were getting themselves into as they made their way into the auditorium.
We walked into the auditorium and found that our seats were towards the back, with no real dancing room. I went over and asked the sound guy if it would be okay for us to stand in front of his booth to dance so we wouldn't block anyone's view. Not only did he say yes, but he told us that we could even go down the side aisle and stand up towards the stage, which we did. Fruvous comes out, and we discovered from the cheers that there were indeed quite a few frufans there (though we were the VAST minority). After a little joking around about how it would be a spoken word show (which the geriatric crew didn't seem to get), they broke into Authors - "We're Moxy Fruvous from Toronto...you've probably never heard of us before...and My Baby Loves A Bunch Of Authors". Okay, so we're up front dancing, where we had been told that it was okay for us to go, when this grumpy old usher man comes up to us and yells at us for being up there, trying to make us go take our seats. We argue a bit, but then reluctantly head towards the back. We stop in front of the sound guy, but the GOUM (grumpy old usher man) kept insisting that we sit down. The nice sound guy however jumped in to our defense and argued with the GOUM, who angrily threw up his hands and stormed away. We stayed there for a song or two, then the sound guy told us that we could go back up to where we were, which we happily did, and were joined by a few other fans.
The guys themselves sounded great, but the sound system at the Music Pier left a bit to be desired. When they were doing the intro to "Boss", someone shouted out that they could hear them better off-mike, so they went for it, jumping into the crowd and running around the auditorium, jumping up on seats and really making that Fruvous connection with the crowd. After Boss, they did the same with Spiderman. Though they may not have intended it this way, it was such a brilliant move on their part, since it really got the attention of those who may have been shutting them off. From that point on most of the crowd was much more into them - well, at least those under the age of 50 (there was this one old woman sitting down the row from where we were standing who had the most horrified look on her face the whole time!). The rest of the show was great - except for someone who goofed up the lyrics to Michigan Militia (don't worry Jian, we won't tell them it was you - oops!).
Afterwards, there was a pretty big crowd over by the merch table. It sure looked like they sold quite a few CD's and added a bunch of new names to the mailing list - primarily to the families with older kids. As intermission was ending and Buckwheat Zydeco was getting started, we were standing outside waiting for the crowd around Jian to die down a bit so we could say hello when over comes the GOUM again. "Do you have tickets to this event?" he rudely asked as though he had forgotten about the dancing in the aisles incident. When we did indeed show him our tickets he proceeded to yell at us again, saying that we couldn't just stand out there and we had to go back inside. Yeah, right. I guess he's got a problem with people not following his rules. Whatever.
After we said hello to Jian, Dan and his friend went off to ride the Ferris Wheel while Jessica and I proceeded to indulge in some fine boardwalk cuisine - frozen custard and cheese fries. I think Jessica said it best - "There's nothing better than sitting on the boardwalk overlooking the ocean and eating cheese fries after a Moxy Fruvous concert".
Set list (at least, what I remember of it)
MBLABOA BJ Don't Cry Boss Spiderman Fly Johnny Saucep'n Michigan Militia Message KofS/GE&H Love Potion #9
For the first time since my first few shows, I actually went to a Fruvous show and spotted *nobody* I knew. There were a few familiar faces in the crowd, but no one I could name. Strange.
Anyway, this was a great little show! The place filled up nicely for Buckwheat Zydeco, but Fruvous got a great reception. I wish they'd forced everyone to stand like Buckwheat did, though.
I think they made a lot of new friends at this show, though certainly not on the scale of the Philly show the day before (as Tobey put it, "we preached the gospel to many people" that day). Kristaffer and I made the venue staff change the spelling of the band's name on the little sign out front from "Moxie" to "Moxy," but they weren't mentioned on the main marquee or in the announcements over the loudspeaker. Tobey suggested getting the big Media Play sign (gloat) from our car to hang on the marquee, but it's too nice a sunscreen for me to risk it being stolen. The crowd was mostly older and a bit conservative, but hey, they were there to see Buckwheat so they couldn't be that bad, right? :D The crowd was buzzing after the show, although I did hear one person who didn't care for the closing number (LP#9). Most folks seemed amazed at how good they were, and the line at the merch table was a sign of many converts.
Dave had some volume problems with his microphone early in the show, but his banjo was in fine shape and it MIGHT not be true that he's been cursed after wearing a Murray shirt. It's probably just a coincidence. Maybe. The only other real glitch was the flubbed line in "Michigan Militia," but the entire band seemed to be responsible for that one.
It was a lovely night on the OC Boardwalk, and I hope they come back soon. NEXT time I'll be sure to get press passes so I'm not confined to the sixth row....my usual side of the stage, but a bit too far back for my tastes.
Approximate setlist (we have Murray's here somewhere thanks to Cal, but my accursed child has done his disappearing act just when I need him so I'm working from my notes):
MBLABOA BJ Boss (a capella) Spidey (ditto) Dave's little improv about the waves, which turned into Mike's little improv about smut (how DOES his mind work?) Fly Michigan Militia Johnny Saucep'n Message KOS/GE&H Love Potion #9
BTW, Buckwheat was great, too..."and let's have a hand for our opening act, ummm.... :::glance offstage:::: :::whisper whisper:::: ....ROXY!"
Close enough :D
Since I was in early I got out early and buzzed home to get everyone for Ocean City. Dora came back up from Baltimore and she took Sheryl, Barb and Moz in her car ('cause it has AC) and Pixel and I took MiLady up to Beth's to pile in her mini-van. Grab Beth, pile in - who has directions? - pile out and make grass whistles while Beth runs in to get directions off the net. Pile in - liquid stop - pile out. Pile in and off we go! Somewhere during the drive, my sleeplessness caught up with me and I became silly. By the time we got to Ocean City, I was on the floor of the van giggling.
Picked up the tickets, quick stop for fudge, and schmoozed with Tobey while he was setting up. Hung out on the porch over the ocean and enjoyed the salt air for a bit before finding our seats. Nice hall, mostly glass for a beautiful view of the ocean and the boardwalk. As the sun set and the boardwalk lit up it lent a carnival atmosphere to the setting.
I think this was a subscription series, most of the audience didn't seem to fit Moxy Fruvous OR Buckwheat Zydeco. Lots of older couples who would have been more comfortable at a symphony and kept watching us with alternating confusion, annoyance, and fear. A lot of "I don't get it" expressions. I would like to say we sat patiently waiting for Fruvous, but we didn't. I was trying to nap on Pixel's shoulder, but kept popping up to see what, if anything, was happening. We had a group back rub going for a while. And we just couldn't keep quiet, not that we were really trying. :-)
Problems from the start, Dave's mic wasn't working. So the Lads leaped from the stage and took "Boss" off-mic and into the audience (further frightening a few of the feeble-minded, but facinating the frantic FruHeads - sorry, I got carried away). By the time they got through Spidey, the sound was, um, fixed. It only took one song for Dora to drag me out of my chair and along the side to dance. And I dragged Beth, and she dragged Pixel . . . Beth and I had our picture taken by a professional type when we were being cute and doing synchronized dancing. So if anyone sees any photos in Ocean City papers about Moxy Früvous fans, lemme know!
Dave led the improv this time with a sweet ditty about the ocean drip drip dripping into the pail . . . which Mike took and dragged into the back alleys of Ocean City's smut. I caught a couple disturbed glances amoung the octogenarians on that one.
No encore, of course as Moxy was the opening band this time. I dashed out for fresh air as soon as it was over and secured a place on the rail facing the Ocean. Since you could hear Buckwheat from outside, I stayed there where it was cool, and less crowded. I was being a bit anti-social in my post-Fruvous state, but rejoined everyone when I came in to get my card stamped and sat at Tobey's feet by the Merch table.
We got ice cream, watched the bungee chair (equally split between "I'm gonna
be sick", "I wanna do it!, and just staring in disbelief), walked the boardwalk
and the beach, played some video games, and headed home around midnight. Once
again, we all piled into MiLady and Dora headed back to Baltimore, while we
headed back to my place. Again, Pixel and I went out for breakfast while the 3
travelers crashed. Home and in bed finally somewhere around 4 am. Yawn. What
Some other tidbits from the performance include: