Not many bands can provide a treatise on North American trade and its effects on Canadian superheroes.
Enter Moxy Fruvous.
The Toronto-based band danced, sang and generally goofed around Friday night for a crowd that filled Second Story, 201 S. College Ave.
Things didn't start smoothly, as the band opened with three serious songs, including the melodramatic "Horseshoes."
During a brief introduction, singer and drummer Jian Ghomeshi teased the opening band, the Ballroom Rustabouts, and then the audience, telling them it was great to be in the Buckeye state. The band broke into the a cappella "I Love My Boss" as Ghomeshi shimmied around stage, playing the part of the weasely worker drone. From then on, the show took on a lighter tone as the band played with more flair and humour.
Highlights included guitarist Mike Ford singing in a high-pitched, helium voice on "Kids," Ghomeshi and guitarist David Matheson's high-speed wordplay on the rap version of "Green Eggs and Ham," as well as covers of Tom Waits' "Jockey Full of Bourbon" and the Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer."
The surprisingly light, almost pretty "Michigan Militia," had the catchiest chorus of the evening: "Happy Birthday Tricia/I'm in the Michigan Militia."
The band promoted Canadian independence from England. "We're tired of seeing that old lady on our money," Ghomeshi said. "We want dead presidents" with the support of the "King of Spain." Matheson playing the part of the King, explained how he switched places with a look-alike pauper and now worked menial jobs, like sweeping the Hoosierdome. The song was the best example of the band's stage approach as all the members sang, played different instruments and ran amok while acting out the song.
The band expressed its thanks to the crowd, most of whom were seeing the band for the first time. Ghomeshi said it was particularly encouraging after the band played to about 23 people during its first visit to Bloomington in 1997.
The audience cheered in response, provoking two encores. First, Ford dressed as Lou Reed, played the opening chords to "Walk on the Wild Side" as the rest of the band sang the song's "do-duhdo-duhdo" background until the song exploded into Abba's "Dancing Queen." The band closed with "The Drinking Song," an updated version of an old Irish drinking song.