Ok, Lawrence did a great job of reviewing the show, so I won't repeat the full set list, but rather give some random impressions/memories.
Early in the show, Murray, who was hidden from much of the crowd because he was behind the speakers, decided to dedicate *his* show,(not *the* show mind you, just *his* show) to the people in front who couldn't see him. Jian decided to dedicate *his* show to the same people, but Murray explained that there was already a "gap" in the show because of Murray's decision, so Jian-Mike-Dave would have to fill that gap by playing to the rest of the audience.
It was "Murray's People" who tried to hum along with the pitchpipe at the beginning of Moon, prompting Jian to ask Murray to talk to his "people," which resulted in the "perfect pitch" lecture. Murray later apologized to them as his people apparently ALL had perfect pitch. :)
Mike commented that Dave was wearing Murray's shirt, to rousing applause. In fact, in the shirt department, Dave out-Murrayed Murray. He was wearing a shirt that was both polka-dotted AND floral. Interesting. Jian wore his "I dig your boyfriend" shirt. Murray had the rather tame bubble shirt on, and Mike was dashing in a little, pastel, blue/pink plaid number.
In addition to Jian's annoyance with the crowd noise during the beginning of Psycho, I also noticed him become visibly annoyed with the never-ending chatter during the quiet moments of IWHO. He was practically rolling his eyes at them while singing.
Finally, the bass-freaks (you know who you are) would've liked last night's version of Michy. The levels on the banjo bottomed out, and for most of the song, the banjo was just not there. I saw Dave playing, but couldn't hear a note. It didn't sound bad though, in the absence of banjo, Murray's bass was a dominant force through the song. I like the banjo, but it was kinda groovy with such a heavy rhythm section going.
well, the other reviewers did wonderfully :).
setlist, setlist, setlist. a nice mix of new and old, with the soon-to-be-infamous version of "when she talks" recorded at the bar. for those who were there and were confused as to his motives for this, i remind you of the 11.9.98 show at the vault when the staff decided that "fly" was fantastic accompaniment for clearing tables of empty bottles. twice during that song on that night the crash of bottles into table-clearing-bins was heard. well, the staff kept in the same vein last night, instead choosing "when she talks." jian had sung the first line of the song when the fated crash occured. he shook his head, and said "i can't do this like this . . . no, really . . ." he stopped and the other guys continued. jian walked to the edge of the stage and called someone over to ask them to ask the bar to be quiet. apparently he was directed to the bar itself, which is where he went. as he was asking them (or telling them - i wasn't close enough to know), dave said "why don't you sing it from the bar?" (the others had kept up their parts the entire time). so jian asked for his mic, which dave performed a stretching feat to give him, and jian did the song from the area just to the right of the stage. i ran over and automatically hit the button of my camera twice, letting two big, giant, bright flashes rip. bleh. "he's gonna kick my ass," i said. "yeah, he is," said lori. jian handed the mic stand to kim from rochester just before the last verse and headed through the audience over to the stage-left stairs.
for my part, i have to say that this wasn't one of my favorites. the crowd was fairly rude and surly, and the guys seemed a little low-energy. jian especially seemed incredibly aggravated. okay, he *was* incredibly aggravated. unfortunately, it was partially my fault :(. someone had bought the guys a round of something the club was touting as "frü-juice." i raised my camera to take a picture of jian taking his shot, and he gulped it, threw the cup down, looked at me, waved his hands "no," and made a gesture which i interpreted to mean "ten" (you know, when someone is communicating a number with their hands and flash their fingers . . . anyway). i figured he was warning me against the frü-juice. turns out he was alerting me to the fact that something on my camera was blinking. only in the diner after the show did i realize it was the red-eye reduction light. and it was freakin' bright. d'oh. usually when i piss off the band, i'm doing it intentionally :).
so, jian, if you're reading this, i feel like a bonehead and am sincerely sorry. the *one* time i actually take pictures . . . :)
the crowd got pretty ridiculous during the opening of "psycho killer." some choice lines:
FEMALE VOICE: murray, we love you. MALE VOICE: no, he's mine! MALE VOICE: baltimore/DC rivalry song! argh. oh well.
afterward we stood around for a full forty minutes before deciding to check the downstairs lounge and lo and behold, there they were. i gave jian his birthday present (the script of 'into the woods') and he made me feel really bad about the camera - but hugged me, so i guess it's all okay. i then stood around for a while longer before deciding that murray wasn't going to come out and get his present (a book of selected edna st. vincent millay poems), so i gave it to tobey to deliver. not five minutes later, who walks out :)? he came over to where anna, mindy, donna, sarah, and i were standing and talked with us for a while. the conversation ranged from the semi-nude mural on the wall of anna's new house (which she's *not* allowed to paint over, per her landlord) to murray's lint, "dandruff," and dirty shirt and the way all looked under black light to famous people we went to high school with. at one point he growled at mindy and his glowing teeth scared the hell out of her. i made fun of his beer when he handed it to me to hold as he signed christy's 'b album' (hempen gold? what the hell is hempen gold?). it was a fun conversation altogether :).
the night ended with an obligatory trip to the paper moon diner in hampden (tobey, though invited, couldn't attend because the crew was staying outside the city). i waltzed into my house as my sister and dad were leaving for work and mom was leaving for school at 6 AM. so i'm going back to bed. so there :).
So, my day began around 1:30 this afternoon, when I left Pittsburgh headed for Baltimore, making allowances for traffic and such. So, naturally, I got to Baltimore in just over 4 hours, arriving in downtown a little before 6. Ok, so people were going to meet at 7 for dinner, and I wanted to find them. After an hour of wandering around the Light Street Pavillion, I finally heard someone shout "Moxy" (or thought I heard someone shout "Moxy") and ended up meeting a bunch of very nice Fruheads all of whose names I have unforunately forgotten. :(
so after an uneventful dinner (and my eating the requisite crab cake since I was in Baltimore) we learned that the Vault was considerably farther from Inner Harbor than we expected, and probably wouldn't be the most pleasant walk back to our cars afterwards. So we all drove (paid for parking twice) up to the Vault, which apparently opened its doors at 8, even though my ticket said 9. oh well.
I found a spot near the front, stage Mike/Dave, and kept gradually inching my way forward. It seemed very crowded at the beginning, but once the show started, there was an unbelievable amount of space. The house music was way too loud at the beginning, so any hope of conversation was pretty much crushed. Either that or everyone will have a sore throat tomorrow.
The opening act came out around 9:15, and entertained us for about 45 minutes. And when I say entertained... I mean, this guy was one of the finest opening acts I've seen. He could sing, he could play his guitar, and his lyrics were clever and quite funny, *and* he had a great stage presence. I don't remember everything he said or did, but we were all highly amused at his set, and he got quite a loud round of applause at the end of his set. (although that might have been the applause for the expectation of Fruvous)
about 20 minutes later (that's right, only 20 minutes!), Fruvous came out to much cheering and applauding, which, of course, they encouraged. After about a minute of that, and no talking at all, except maybe a "Thank you" or two, they started Splatter Splatter, with the new arrangement that theoretically should have allowed me to figure out the chords by watching Dave, but I had no luck in that department.
Still very little talking and the usual drum intro to Darlington Darling. "On the accordion tonight, Baltimore sports legend Cal Ripken Jr..."
Then we got Independence Day and If Only You Knew. It's really too bad August 10 is 47 days away... I want it to be now.
A short improv about a Broadway musical entitled "David Matheson, Exhibitionist" followed by You Will Go to the Moon, with a couple of audience interruptions at the beginning, causing Murray to insist that only those in the audience with perfect pitch sing along.
No intro to the Kids' Song, but, as always, amusing. Did I mention that the guys seemed majorly "on" and "into it" tonight? Imagine the most "into it" you've seen them at a regular show and double it. Really. Same for the audience.
And then perhaps the most amusing moment of the evening... Jian picked up the guitar, so naturally we expected either When She Talks or Sad Girl (but secretly hoped for Misplaced) and they started playing When She Talks, but there were some distracting sounds of bottles being thrown away coming from the bar, so after a few bars, Jian stopped singing, while the rest of the band played. He walked off the stage towards the bar, still carrying the guitar, to ask them to be quiet... or something. And somehow he got the idea to perform the song from the bar. After Murray told him he couldn't hand the mic over because he was drumming, Mike grabbed it, and the stand, and they were set up just off the stage. (ah, the joys of wireless technology) He continued the song from there, and during the instrumental, passed the mic stand through the audience back to the stage, and, since there were no stairs on that side of the stage, walked through the audience with the guitar to get back. At the end of the song, he was greeted with a chorus of "Way to go, Jian!"
Next we got Horseshoes, Live Noise style, with the audience starting the last refrain (a little off key, I might add) and Too Careful, with very little intro.
Laika followed, with everyone again very much "into it."
Then the non-usual King of Spain intro, where they talk about the intro they normally do, but the people who have already seen them before have already seen that, so they're not going to do it. So they do King of Spain, with most of the audience shouting "Don't mention Lisa," much to the surprise of the band, and some of us in the audience, too...
An improv of "I Fought the Law" using the banjo, then The Present Tense Tureen and Johnny Saucep'n, which left me out of breath. (well, that and the intense smoke in the room)
Two more songs from Thornhill, I Will Hold On and My Poor Generation, came next, and the main set ended with an almost seamless transition from River Valley to Get in the Car to Psycho Killer, although the intro to Psycho Killer was again interrupted by random noise and chatter, and everything quieted down for the first verse except the bass.
First encore was Michigan Militia, which seemed a little slower than usual, but was still great, and had everyone "singing" along.
The second encore began with Authors, with pretty much every line that sometimes might be changed being changed ("I was looking straight," "My crucifixion," and "who needs a grave?") and the ending guitar part done missing one of the crucial strings....
And finally, they left us with the Drinking Song, a great sing-a-long (and we were on key this time, although I need to pick a part and stick with it :)
I'd post more to this, but I can't think of what to say, and my brother is bugging me to get off the computer (it's frickin' 3:30 in the morning!)
I'll see everyone (or some subset thereof) in Fort Erie next week (well, 9 days, but still)
Two Bald Daves for the Price of One
Review, 6-24-99, The Vault
Reviewer's Note: Other people have posted reviews, mine, as usual, is different. I tried not to repeat what others have already said, but that'll teach me not to write up first thing in the morning. :)
A random thought I had as I sat on the MARC train between DC's Union Station and Baltimore's Penn Station: I wonder if you could travel between DC and Boston using commuter trains? I'm not sure why anybody would want to do such a thing, but that's what I was thinking about as I made my way to the Vault to see Fruvous.
Found Ellen and her spiffy new haircut in line already, she was talking to Mindy, Anna and Donna. We waited in line, waited waited waited, but the doors opened fairly early. Two Seventeen Magazine-looking blonds were up at the front telling the door-guy they were on the guest list. They were vaugely petulant, clearly put-out when told they would have to wait. They didn't look like the rest of us--they wore makeup and didn't look tired.
The sight of them depressed me, because I knew I was pale, tired and covered in cat fur. It shouldn't have mattered, but it did. Sorry to anybody I snapped at; Lori and Jen, I know I snapped at both of you. Guess I was in a mood.
The ads for this show informed us that some guy named Dave was opening. I have to admit that I wasn't expecting much, and perhaps that added to my enjoyment. He gave a terrific performance, and I'll definitely go see his band, Laughing Colors. (For any DC area people not going up to Ft. Erie, LC is playing at the Freedom Festival downtown July 4th.) He started by asking if we liked country music. Some people in the crowd cheered, and he said that he hated it, but that he'd written some just for us. He proceeded to play a song the refrain of which started "she may be my cousin, but she's also my bride."
He kept the crowd in the palm of his hand the whole time, and was generous in praising our willingness to open up to a totally new act. My favorite moment was when he said he had an old one for us to sing along with, at which point he broke into an old Juicy Fruit gum jingle, "The taste is gonna move ya!"
He stuck to original material for the most part, his songs are catchy and topical. "TheWar on Drugs" includes the refrain "Whatever happened to sex, drugs and rock-n-roll? All we've got now is AIDS, crack and techno." He worked verses from Sublime's "What I Got" into that song. He also chose to cover the Beastie Boys "Paul Revere." One voice and an acoustic guitar.
We had noted before Dave T's set that the crowd seemed small, smaller than last year's Vault show, but by the time Fruvous took the stage, the club had filled up.
Splatter is a nice opener, high energy, good way to get things started. Just reinforced my thought that Splatter is like Michigan Militia, which works well in the beginning and near the end of a set. I have a feeling I'll get tired of hearing this one, but for now it's fairly fresh and entertaining.
Darlington is one of my favorite tracks from Bargainville, and one I always enjoy live. They seemed to be playing fast, but it may have just been my impression. I'm not sure how well I like Splatter and Darlington together, though.
Indy is probably my favorite of Murray's songs, the keyboard line is tinged with melancholy and perfectly mirrors the lyric. Like the rest of the songs that will be on Thornhill, it sounds smoother than it did before they went into the studio. I noticed more of a crescendo in the keyboard near the end, but it may be that I was just noticing it for the first time. It worked, whether it was new or not.
If Only was probably the wrong choice to follow Indy. It worked better in Baltimore than in Virgina Beach because of the positioning early in the show, but I can't help thinking that Half as Much would have been a better fit in this setlist. I like If Only, it's a nice, well-crafted song, but I find myself agreeing with the folks who said it was just too personal to do it every night. I wonder if it's becoming rote for Mike and that's what I'm hearing.
As Lawrence mentioned, no intro to Kids. As a matter of fact, there was surprisingly little between-song chatter, though there was a lot of banter. There was a long chatter break, during which Murray dedicated his show to all "his people," because the monitor blocked their view of him. (Silly Murray's People, y'all should realize that some of the best Murray watching is from Stage Dave. ;) ) Tonight I noted that Mur looks at his fingers while he plays on some songs.
Jian got the idea to sing When She Talks from the bar because Dave said "Ji, sing it from the bar." The upset did add some interest to the song. I'm happy to report that the bottle clinking stopped, it was also a problem at the Vault show last November.
Horseshoes, nice guitar from Dave, but I'd love to have the keyboard back. It was about this time when Dave went into a zone, playing with a driving energy. This turned out to be a good thing, as Dave sang lead on eight songs from that point out. Too Careful followed, with a few new backing vocals and more guitar noodling that wasn't there the last time I heard it.
Laika was next, tight version, and I hadn't heard it since Northampton. Nice electric from Dave near the end, I kept thinking he was going to break into a jam. Mike's vocal was right on.
I am almost never happy to hear King any more, but tonight was a little different. The intro to the intro was different, in fact, Jian seemed to be mocking that whole section. Mike introduced "TV's Chatterbox Phil Donahue, the King of Spain" then Dave came in, again wearing the MF fishing hat. "King, why are you such a chatterbox? There's a hat on your head! Chatterbox!" Nice conversation break at "Are you curious?" Dave started in about the smell of curiosity, how he could smell it wafting up from the crowd, but it was a pleasant smell. Then he toyed with the Stanley Cup postcard-stand-up thing that somebody left on stage, and remarked that he was trying to "clear all that stuff off his Fucking Holiday Inn desk. "
There was more energy from the band on last night's King than I've seen in a while, it was refreshing.
When Jian mentioned Dave Tieff's set, Murray said that they liked him so much they decided they needed a bald Dave in their band, so they made Dave Matheson shave his head a few minutes before the show. Dave responded "Oh, was he bald?" Jian came back with "Glad you enjoyed his set."
Tureen>Saucep'n followed. Fairly standard, though I think the loudest cheer of the night came for Saucep'n. It was tight, but it should be. IWHO was an odd choice to follow this, but the evening was full of odd pairings. The amount of conversation in the audience was very annoying, as others have commented.
My Poor Generation was looser than I've ever heard it. There was more of Mike on the vocal toward the end, and Dave experimented a little with the acoustic. The crowd wasn't all that into the song, but I was. Count me among the strongest MPG supporters, though I think it works better a little further into the set. River Valley was the perfect follow, very smooth, it worked despite the difference in tempo, the right into Get in the Car, just as smooth, but raucous.
A nice way to lead up to the closer, in the always leave them wanting more school of thought.
Looks like the way to get a great Psycho Killer is to piss off Jian. it took forever to start the song since people kept shouting and laughing. One guy said 'Let's make this a DC/Baltimore rivalry song.' As they say, Don't Be That Guy. Once he got started, Jian's vocal on the first verse was dangerously soft, which made the contrast with the "don't touch me I'm a real live wire" even more shocking. Dave and Mike rocked on the guitars. Dave was making funny faces, still in his zone. Maybe he should wear the dots-and-flowers on rayon more often. After looking at the buttons for a while, I determined that the shirt was, indeed, manufactured for a guy to wear. Boggles the mind.
Encores Authors was pretty standard, except that Mike and Murray switched places. Mur burned up Michigan, although I could hear the banjo on the right-hand side of the stage. I was happy with the bass line.
The sing-along on Drinking was especially strong. It was interesting to watch Dave's face during the song, he was clearly reacting to it, in a very different way than Jian does, much quieter. For a few moments I felt like I was watching something I wasn't supposed to be watching. Of course, I'm always watching people who aren't necessarily in the spotlight, so there you go.
After the guys left the stage, the sounds of the KOS remix filled the room, and people stuck around dancing. A lot of people went downstairs, where it was very smoky and lint showed up on my black dress, on the other hand, my legs looked tanned for the first time ever.
I mentioned to a person who was taping that I was glad somebody had taped the show, she responded 'why? I didn't think it was very good,' which bugged me a little, though I've had that happen with this person before, I think she and I must have entirely different things that make for a good show. This one had energy to spare. When the band is having a good time, I have a good time. It's really pretty simple. Yes, the songs could have been positioned better, but it was nice to hear Laika and River Valley, and I really enjoyed MPG. I found the whole thing refreshing.
The best way to put it is that I spent the second half of the set wavering the edge of a zone where I'm completely into the music. I don't always get to that place at Fruvous shows, but it's a good place to be. It was weird to be almost there, but not a bad weird.
I rode back to DC with the person IWHO calls to mind most of the time. We listened to Van Morrison and I drifted off to sleep until he woke me to ask where he should turn to get to my place. Quiet is a good thing sometimes, and music always is.
From Amanda Potter:
Well, Lawrence did a really great job of reviewing the show, so I won't go into great detail explaining the wonderful time I had last night. But I thought I'd share a bit anyway...
My personal favorite moment during the show was when Murray revealed to the audience that Jian spends his off-days in front of the hotel room TV, trying to learn Ricky Martin's dance moves. :-) I think Jian could beat Ricky in a dance contest any day.
Jian then discussed the possibility of fame and fortune for Moxy Fruvous if one of them were to die before the album came out. "Maybe we'd rise to number 4 in the charts!" he said, while making reference to memorial Sting covers. ("As I walk in fields of barley") :o) Then someone, Mike, I think, said that they could replace the dead member with an ex-member of Menuto (my apologies- I have no idea how to spell that!)to which Murray replied, "I think they've formed a union of ex-Menuto members- local 141." =)
The show was truly wonderful and I'm so happy that I could be there. Hi to Lizzie, Katie, and Lori, and all of the other Fruheads I was finally brave enough to introduce myself to last night. I promise I'll post more and I can't wait to see you all at Fal
Some other tidbits from the performance include: