This Sunday and Monday evening The Playhouse was host to Moxy Fruvous, and their opening act, Big Sugar. We caught the Fruvous foursome after their soundcheck, and had a short talk with Jean Ghomeshi (vocals) and Murray Foster (deeper vocals).
Moxy Frouvous is at the end of a cross-Canada tour. They played sold-out crowds, a pretty amazing feat considering they only have one (short) tape and aren't receiving bags of radio air-play in cities without alternative radio.
Life on the road has been pretty hectic for the band: Thursday they did a press-schmooze and concert in Montral, Friday they played Ottawa, and Saturday they played two shows in Markham. This week, after filming a video for the Ministry of Energy and Resources they settle down to write for their first album. They hope to go into production in April.
Moxy Fruvous prefers small theatres over bars for performing locales. They have a strong tendency for theatrics on stage, many of these would be lost on a crowd busy with drinking, socializing, or dancing recklessly. Also, their largely "a cappella" act would suffer in the notoriously poor acoustics of most bars.
Moxy Fruvous, which see themselves as more of a project than a band, "grew up" on the streets. Much of their theatrics and costumes developed out of an attempt to attract the attention of passersby. One of the band's greatest concerns is maintaining this element in their music, as they no longer have time to do street performances.
The band utilize a wide degree of satire to convey the messages. While, on the surface, this means the songs are often very humorous, they carry a deeper meaning.
The show opened up with R'n'B band Big Sugar. The trio led us through an impressive collection of originals and Blues classics, including a Robert Johnson cover that was incredibly performed. The lead had a great "lid", and outstanding skill with his guitar. His vocals ranged from a growly blues tenor to an angst-filled falsetto, all of which carried the music well.
The crowd was impressed, and reacted with big bay-loads of applause. Big Sugar were proof that rock and popular music are not longer synonymous.
After a short intermission the indelible Chris Thompson introduced Moxy Fruvous. The four were quick to win over the audience with their friendly manner and clever interaction. The band played a wide collection of material ranging from re-worded covers of the Spider-Man Theme and "I Think I Love You" (Partridge Family) to their own intriguing songs.
Part of the band's appeal rests in their "a cappella" nature. The band members all have a share of the solo vocals, and blend well. For the final encore, "The Gulf War Song", the band stepped out in front of the mikes. The a cappella song was delivered to a dead-quiet audience. It was powerful, and the applause afterwards was deafening, accompanying a well-deserved standing ovation.
Fruvous Rumour #43: Fruvous is from John Sackville Fruvous, the first person to go over the Falls in a barrell...He died. Right guys, tell us another one.