"We're not a comedy band," deadpanned Jian Ghomeshi as Canadian foursome Moxy Fruvous launched into its goofily eclectic blend of rock, folk and wit at the Ram's Head Tavern in Annapolis Tuesday night.
Fruvous (the name is nonsense) jokingly characterizes its music as "vaudeville folk," and began the evening with the Beatles' "Nowhere Man"-a sly acknowledgment that their complex harmonies and upbeat pop often bring the Fab Four to mind. Fruvous aimed for a spot somewhere between funny and political with numbers like "Your New Boyfriend," a complaint that the singer's former flame has taken up with a right-winger: "You said the politics matter/But we're all getting fatter." Others included "La Complainte du Phoque en Alaska" - a song in French about a wandering seal written, apparently, because the word for "seal" in French sounds like an English obscenity. The group also played songs that will be released later this month on a new album, "C," including "Guinea Pig," a sarcastic tribute to biotechnology's ability to create a snack that's a "cross between a moose, a monkey and a fig."
The first of three Fruvous encores showed the band's punnish bent, beginning with singer Mike Ford giving a dead-on impression of Lou Reed doing the rock poet's paean to the gritty gay life of New York, "Walk on the Wild Side" - but then shifting seamlessly into Abba's schlocky-but-sexy disco hit "Dancing Queen." With Moxy Fruvous, it's always a walk on the wild side.