I was totally *not* expecting to go to this show, but Utica's actually not that far from Boston (about 4 hours max) and it was a Friday night, so what the hell? It's not like I haven't driven that far before... ;-)
Vika and I left Boston around 3:30 on Friday afternoon. Luckily, along the way, we were able to catch Fruvous' commercial baseball satire song on NPR's 'All Things Considered'. It took us about four hours (with some stops along the way) to reach Captain Trip's in Utica. People were already forming a line outside the venue...we had plenty of time, though; doors weren't till nine.
There were so many people there, suffice it to say I pass my 'hellos' along to all of them. They really made the evening fun for me. It was great seeing people I haven't had an opportunity to talk to that much over the past six months or so. I think Vika and I surprised a lot of people too...since I've moved from Rochester, my epicenter of Fruvous activity has shifted. :-) Doors didn't open till past nine, so I knew this was gonna be a late evening.
There was a modest sized crowd - not nearly as big as last time Moxy played there. I really didn't catch the opener (Susan Horner?) since I was too busy socializing. She played for about an hour I would say, finishing up around 10:45 or so.
Fruvous didn't get on stage till just past 11:30 (oy!) and played a short set, actually. The main chunk of the set was only an hour and ten minutes, but after encores it was about an hour and forty-five. The crowd, IMHO, absolutely SUCKED. There were so many obnoxious people there, screaming at the most inopportune times (during Fly?!?) and just making the whole evening very difficult. Although many disagreed with me afterwards, I felt that it _did_ affect the guys' performance/disposition (how couldn't it?) and as a result I wasn't super-pleased with the show as a whole. It was nice hearing Splatter Splatter live for the first time, and I was VERY impressed with the guys' performance of other tunes as well - very tight; you can tell they've been working hard.
Mike setlist reads:
Indy Sahara 2 Careful If Only Boss Kidz When Kingreen Booty Sad Michy Sauce Splatter Video BJ Psycho -------- Auth-Fly -------- Allison Drink
After the show, we didn't have tons of time to socialize since the venue was closing soon, but we did get to chat with the guys and each other for a decent amount of time. Vika and I were planning to head back that night, so we didn't hang around too much longer; we finally left Utica around 2:30 in the morning, and got back to Boston at 6:30. I don't know whether it's extremely cool or extremely depressing to see the sun rise as you're driving home half asleep; I haven't decided yet. :-)
I can't really remember too terribly much about the show - so this will be one of *those* reviews :) (besides, nobody else is talking!)
Let's see... After a particularly unrestful three hours of sleep on Thursday night, I somehow managed to find my car and get down to College Park to pick up Melanie. The only problem along the way was the usual beltway traffic, and a rather annoying police officer who pulled me over for 'abusing the shoulder' Actually, the traffic on 495 was backed up and standing still, which blocked off the exit ramp to College Park entirely. After waiting patiently for ten minutes, the traffic moved enough so that I was about one car length from the beginning of the ramp. So, being in a hurry, I pulled around the car in front of me to get on the ramp, having to spend about half a second on the shoulder in order to accomplish this. Anyway, the cop was fairly nice and didn't give me a ticket, but couldn't quite grasp the fact that I wasn't cutting anyone off. Oh well. After that, Melanie and I had a nice breakfast in the dining hall and were on our way.
We made some super time up to Utica, and found Captain Trip's around 5:30 or so. We pulled the car into the parking lot of the liquor store and I immediatly jumped out, having been in that stinky car for eight hours. At about the same time that I was struggling to shut my car door while balancing coffee, Melanie says "Check it out - Murray and Dave!" I look up, forgetting about the car door which hits my arm, and causes me to spill coffee on my white t-shirt. Very typical Anna move there.
I pull on another shirt as Melanie tells me to hurry up because she is being harassed by a man who keeps yelling at her for wearing shorts. I'm still dazed by the car ride as Mel pulls me over towards Murray. We say hello, and it actually took me a few seconds to remember even that word. Also waiting outside was now local celeb Captain Mikey, who made sure to plug his radio interview, which Murray and Dave went off to do. A nice man told us to move the car, lest it get towed. With two hours to go before we had to get in line, we drove around Utica listening to the radio show (nice, by the way - good idea to pick No No Raja as the last song.) and looking for the Utica Zoo. It was closed.
At this point, I had way too much caffeine in my system to function normally as a human being, so we got strawberries from the grocery store and sat in the grass behind a bank across the street from the club. After I felt better, we went back across the street where I said my hellos to the few people I knew (Katie, Lori, and Val) and went to the back of the line. After what seemed like a long time (it was a long time, what am I talking about?) We realized that we would have to get in a seperate line to get our will-call tickets. (They were wonderfully printed, by the way - those of us with will-call tix got to see Moxy Frovous perform :) I got to see a few songs from the sound-check as I waited to pick them up. Anyway - eventually we were all let in, even the college kids who made a semi-successful rally to cut in line.
Once inside, we were made to stand behind a black cloth, so we couldn't see the girl who opened (damned if I can remember her name) sound check. We could hear her though, being only thirty feet away, so I will never really know what the point of that was. After about 15 minutes chatting with other fans (I finally got to meet hKath and Marie-Claude - though they knew who I was, and I didn't know them, and I felt pretty bad!) they let us out from behind the curtain. Whee!
I'm going to skip the opening girl except to say that she was talented, but couldn't really get a good grasp on the audienced attention. Fruvous took their rime as usual, and got on stage around 11:30.
As far as the music went, it seemed nice and solid. Nothing really stood out as either amazing or terrible. They opened with Independence Day which surprised me, but didn't bother me in the least. *sigh* I love that song. The rest of the set was pretty normal, nothing surprising (I guess I missed all the surprises by not going the night before - drat.) They played Splatter Splatter and Boo Time, both of which got big cheers from me, and I was *ecstatic* to hear them play Alison as an encore. My dancing during the show was severely limited due to the fact that the pockets of my pants kept getting caught on an unweilding fan placed in front of the stage, although, I think I still managed to prove to the few people who hadn't realized - I can't dance.
The only other thing I can comment on was the notable lack of chatting on stage. Of course, Katie's borrowed Flyers jersey caused a bit of a commotion :) and there were a couple other funny moments early on. Though it quickly became apparent that there were more then a few drunk college kids there. A few in particular who would shout really obnoxious things every time Jian spoke. I think their best defense was just not to talk much at all, and let the kids drink themselves into quietude. Unfortunatly, it didn't help much at all, and they were talking really loudly during inopprotune moments, like during Fly. They all shouted for the Drinking Song, which was on the setlist but wasn't played. (Funny, that.)
After the show, it wasn't too long before the guys came out (all four!) and the majority of the crowd seemed to have cleared out by then. Mel and I talked to Murray for a while about various things (including the spiffy new Frubus and trailer, which can apparantly handle speeds above 90 mph quite well) and he hinted at the possibility of another Baltimore show this summer! We talked about some other stuff too, but unless you're really interested in my Elvis Costello paper that I wrote for music history, it's not all that interesting :)
As we made our way out the door, we bumped into Jian and Mike, who implored us to make sure we drove home safely :) With that advice in hand, we said out goodbye's and left Utica, happy and contented little Fru-fans.
After getting pulled over for speeding (so much for taking their advice - but don't look at me, *I* was sleeping!) the drive home took 13 hours - we stopped three times to take naps in various east-coast restaraunts. I took Mel home and was crashed back in my room by 4:00pm. What an insane 30 hours it was.
** Trip stats ** ** Classes missed - 1 ** Time spent in car - 20 hours ** Time spent out of car - 10 hours ** Cups of coffee - 7 ** Albums listened to - Anna's Springtime Mix, James (The Best of), Ben Folds Five, The Velvet Goldmine Soundtrack, Blur, Soul Coughing (El Oso & Ruby Vroom), Phish (Billy Breathes), Tripping Daisy (Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb), and of course, various radio stations here and there :) ** Time pulled over - 2 ** Tickets recieved - 1
That about wraps it up, I think :) Be thankful I'm not planning on writing about every show I go to this summer! Oh yeah, I got a few pictures developed - they'll be posted later tonight maybe. I'll let you know :)
Time to get to class - do something productive for once!
This review compiled jointly by Lori Martin, Kate Leahy and Valerie Jones.
Utica, NY: 5 hours north of Philadelphia, 7 hours north of Baltimore. The perfect one-night Thelma-and-Louise-and-Louise jaunt, right?
That's what we thought.
Kate and Valerie arrived at Lori's house early in the afternoon, and after a quick exchange of tapes and loading of the Cushy Cozy FrüCar with a checklist of staples (pillows, bubbles, CDs, snackstuffs, and a certain hockey jersey) we departed on our grand adventure. Valerie, already overcome by incipient Frübliss, soon announced that even the much maligned I-476 was a beautiful drive. In fact it was a lovely day for a ride north -- the first one Lori can recall in many years of driving that route. Even the perpetually-under-construction I-81 was blissfully devoid of construction, despite signage to the contrary, which meant it really was a trouble-free trip.
We arrived in Utica around 6:00 and checked into the A-1 motel just off the exit ramp. This spacious and gracious lodging, with floral-patterned sheets and generous quantities of high-quality linens and paper products, also impressed us with a lovely view of dumpsters and discarded snow fencing. While Val checked in, charming the desk clerk senseless, Lori and Kate explored the premises and immediately discovered what apparently was the door to Bluebeard's Dungeon, which lured us with the following typewritten warning:
No Public Access No Exceptions Anyone violating this order will be evicted from the premises with Police Escort!
We were enthralled, especially as the door was ajar. The possibilities seemed endless, and we quickly plotted our course of action at checkout time: while Val would distract the besotted desk clerk, Kate and Lori would OPEN THE FORBIDDEN DOOR, discover the A-1's grisly secrets, and likely meet our doom. Hey, we reasoned, none of us had ever had a Police Escort before.
Shortly before 7 we headed off to the venue, "a long way" south on Genesee Street, according to FDC (actually about 2.5 miles), through the heart of downtown Utica. We were puzzled by the patriotism evidenced by the American flags bedecking seemingly every other lightpole -- we weren't aware of any recent or forthcoming national holiday that would inspire such pride. But no matter. We drove right past the cleverly concealed Captain Trip's, partly because there was no FrüBus to rivet our attention, and no big line of fans, but found our way back shortly. After greeting Kimberly, Kim, Norg, and Andi, then chatting with Mike and Jian as they entered (Jian wearing beautiful canteloupe-colored jeans and really cool looking geek sunglasses with yellow lenses -- WOW! --) we set off to find something resembling dinner.
Back on line we found Adam Hartfield and bunches of other people -- Novac, Marie-Claude and hKath, Chrissy, Anna and Melanie, Misch, Chris O and Vika, Chad, Emily, Angie (who brought her inimitable Frübars), and Dante, who was really psyched to have a Frügig within 5 blocks of his house. Marie-Claude was distributing Canada stickers to affix to our clothing, which we thought was a nice way of countering the US flags lining the street. We had to make our lads feel welcome!
It did feel weird to be standing in front of a venue in the sunshine, not shivering, after lo these many months of winter. Kate pulled on Lori's jersey (carefully concealed from the lads during our previous encounter) and immediately realized why L. hadn't wanted to wear it -- it was too hot!
There was a small crew of line-crashers we yelled at, but other than that the mood outside the venue seemed upbeat and jovial. The doors opened late, but eventually we were let in a few at a time -- over-21s getting wristbands, under-21s getting magic-marker Xs on both hands (Kate was quite unhappy with this, felt it made her look like a lazy neo-fascist.) The bar was separated from the concert hall by a black plush curtain, and after chatting with Tobey we gathered impatiently in front of this barrier. Eventually Tobey peered out from beyond the curtain, and when we asked if we could go in, and he said yes, a mad dash for advantageous territory ensued (the plan was that a bunch of us would try extremely hard to get a complete set of setlists for Rodney.) Ultimately Kate, Val and Lori wound up in front of Murray's monitor along with Angie, Anna, Melanie, and a little further back Norg and Vika; Misch, Marie-Claude, hKath, and Chrissy were Stage Mike-ish, and the Kims and Andi were Stage Dave. Apologies to the other Früfans who may have wanted setlists, but we were on a mission ... some other time, okay? :)
Due to our extreme proximity to the stage we were able to stash our bubbles, cameras, drinks etc between monitors, which was quite convenient. This was probably the smallest stage Lori has seen Früvous play on, but it seemed to work out okay. The room itself, although not that big, seemed much less crowded than other recent concerts as well -- much more breathing and dancing room than at Lee's Palace, the Troc, or the Bottom Line, and the crowd did not seem to push inexorably forward, which was nice.
Opening act Sarah Harmer was fairly impressive, despite an inattentive crowd that talked over much of her set. A little country, a little folky, doesn't command a room as well as Susan Werner, but she has a good voice and does attempt to build a rapport with her audience -- which on this night was a difficult chore. She was amused by the bubbles (even though they were pretty crappy bubbles -- "Miracle Bubbles" just aren't all that miraculous) and at one point decided we should play an "egg shaker solo". :)
The wait between sets wasn't all that bad, but by drunken non-Frühead standards it apparently seemed interminable, as there was much yelling and shouting for the lads to just get out on stage. Finally they did, making wonderful fashion statements with, respectively, a horse-motif print shirt (Murray, apparently in honor of the Kentucky Derby); plaid stretchy pants (Jian); and a seersucker jacket (Dave). Mike was his usual well-coifed, spiffy self. Jian, spying Kate's jersey, gave her a withering look that inspired most of the stage Murray crew to embrace her protectively, and they launched into:
*Independence Day -- what a great show opener! *Sahara -- got the room dancing Jian then welcomed us, professing that the band was happy to be at a "Rock and Roll Preserve." Murray then observed that they were there to preserve rock 'n' roll, after which Jian commented that the setup of the room was interesting, as the speakers were well forward of the stage and so the first five rows or so were actually hearing the show as the band did, through the monitors. "But that's okay, we don't sound too bad up here." This led into a Quadrophenia-esque story about how, at a punk/new wave gathering Jian attended when he was 14, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts played, and the audience hated "those rockers", and someone took *Jian's* Adidas bag and threw it at Joan Jett. "He was a lot bigger than me, so I let him do it. And then I said -- Do you want any more of my stuff to throw?" A few bars of *I Love Rock and Roll followed, to which we obligingly sang along. *2 Careful *If Only You Knew and then... Jian: "You know, Murray, *some* people have a lot of audacity." Murray: "Indeed they do." Jian: "Like THAT WOMAN there, who has the nerve to stand in the *front row*, flaunting a Philadelphia Flyers jersey. It's like she's spitting on the band." Murray: "That would, in fact, be preferable." Jian: "Because, as you know, the flyers draw many of their players from the Toronto area." At this point Katie is blushing; Lori and Angie have arms around her; Valerie stands behind Lori, finger pointing over her head, yelling, "it's HER jersey!!" Jian: "What's interesting is that's you're wearing number twelve. There IS no number twelve is there?" Katie: "It's not a real Flyers jersey, it's a Little Flyers jersey." Dave, all conciliatory: "OH! The Midgets -- we don't hate *them*." Jian, acting principled: "Well, maybe not. But the good news is -- THE GOOD NEWS IS -- the Leafs just won in overtime!" And with that they played: *Hockey Night in Canada theme. We swear they were just waiting for the score before they decided in what way to abuse Katie. The things she'll do on principle. :) *I Love My Boss *Kids Song -- while we blew bubbles, Murray pointed the mic at us to get our views on Québec separating: Kate: "no!", then changed her mind to "why not?"; Valerie: "no!"; Lori: "yes!"; Angie: "who?!"
Mike, on "do you have a gender bias?" "My sister has three!!" Many withering looks, then: "She's a Trisexual!" *When She Talks At this point the drunks in the room were starting to grumble; the Stage Murray fans kept hearing shrieks for Pisco; those Stage Dave were subject to repetitions of "River Valleeeeeee!!!"; for all we know those in the middle were having their ears besieged by requests for Freebird. REALLY annoying; the guys just seemed to be trying to ignore it. From our vantage point Kate and Lori could see that none of these songs were on the setlist, and were snarkily pleased to be able to inform these people that they weren't forthcoming. :P A pox on drunken one-song "fans". After a long and exceptionally bizarre introduction, first by Mike, comparing the next song to a man's first, lousy kiss (from the audience: "or a woman's!", a line Mike kept repeating in falsetto as they played out this theme); and then by Jian, comparing the same song to a man's first, disappointing sexual experience: "you don't know if you're in or out . . . you think you're Superman but you suck" (obnoxious voice from the audience: "you would know!") (Mike: "I can see it's half-price drinks night") . . . Jian: "I mean, this song REALLY sucks . . . (again from the audience: "it better, after all this!") Mike: "and now, in his seersucker jacket and Tibetan hat, the ..." *King of Spain *GE&H -- After Mr Cheese attacked the Beatles, Sam went on the offensive with much sexual undercurrent: "You know, Mr Cheese, I hate this part of the show, because I hate YOU at this part of the show. You never give me your .... money, and you NEVER give me your .... ummm .... " Mike played a few lines of *You Never Give Me Your Money before physically attacking Mr. Cheese and deriding him as a "crack ho"; at which point Murray commented that it was looking like a Jerry Springer episode, and we in the crowd started chanting Jer-RY! Jer-RY! Jer-RY! *Boo Time *Sad Girl A nice tuning moment, during which the audience sang along happily, led to Jian's comment that they now had the tractable Früheads doing all their segues for them, and then: *Michigan Milititia *Johnny Saucepan -- when the tin whistle came out the audience cheered, which led to Jian offering it up in his hands like some object of ritual worship. *Splatter Splatter *Video Bville -- a perfect segue! And Murray did the most AMAZING bass thing, playing a string like it was a zipper while strung-out vidiot Jian mugged; unfortunately, the drunks in the audience did not appreciate any of this and yelled through the entire introduction. Fie on them all. *riff of Riders on the Storm, started by Murray, sung by Jian, led into some other Doors snippet (The End?) *Psycho Killer -- again, unappreciative drunks didn't care for the posing, just wanted to hear the damn song. Lots of yells from the audience. Phooey. Note: there was NO medley to end the show. We wonder if they're working on a new one? encore 1: Authors -- Murray decided the disco ball overhead was a wonderful thing to twirl around manually; we were hoping it wouldn't crash down on the drum kit. Fly -- Jian's intro was interrupted by the same drunken morons. encore 2: Allison -- what a wonderful ending. on the setlist it was listed as an option, along with TDS; we're glad they chose Allison. The jerks in the crowd probably would have thought TDS was a clap-along celebration or something.
It just seemed too bad that the band's usual efforts at improv seemed so limited and unappreciated by this particular audience -- except for the hockey banter, there really were no animated discussions, because the crowd was riding them so hard to just play the songs already.
After the show the usual mingling ensued; Kate, who had taken up a collection, obtained a Früvous jersey for Rodney and got all 4 guys to sign it; and we munched on the Sour Patch Kids Kimberly had brought for Murray. We tried to get together for a group photo of Früvous and Früheads for Rodney, but never managed to pull it off before we were ushered out of the club at about 2:30. Oh well -- there will be other shows at which to attempt this.
Val, Kate and Lori headed back to the A-1, basically comatose, and woke up the infatuated desk clerk to ask him for more of the luxurious linens. We didn't stay up chattering too long before passing out, and by 10 am we were heading out for a substantial diner breakfast and then rolling homeward listening to Robbie Williams, DaVinci's Notebook, and the Monkees. (Hey, when you're half-asleep you need something perky to keep you on the road and out of the median strip.)
Oh, and what was in Bluebeard's Dungeon? A dark, unprepossessing staircase, with a pile of linens at the bottom. We dared go no further ...
There was no Police Escort out of town.
Some other tidbits from the performance include: