Philip Nel > Reviews > "College A Capella on Crack?"

On October 17, 1997, an edited version of this piece was published as "Fruvous Four Blends Witty Music Tonight" in the Vanderbilt Hustler, the student newspaper of Vanderbilt University. Since the Vanderbilt Hustler lacked a web site at that time, I've posted the original version of the article here. Enjoy!
"College A Cappella on Crack?"
Moxy Früvous at Union Station: Friday, October 17, 5 PM
by Phil Nel
       Who is Moxy Früvous? Although WRLT has been playing some songs from their current album You Will Go to the Moon (1997), this eclectic Toronto-based quartet remains best known north of the border. In Canada, their self-produced 6-song cassette (1992) stayed on the independent charts for over a year and their first album Bargainville (1993) sold 500,000 copies. Atlantic Records released this album in the U.S., but their next two CDs appeared in Canada only. As a result, the band has had to build an American following largely on the strength of its almost incessant touring and inspired live shows. They seem to be succeeding: loyal Früvous fans (known as "Frü-heads") have been known to follow the band from show to show, and trade bootlegged concert tapes over the internet.
       After experiencing his first Früvous show at this summer's Newport Folk Festival, a friend compared them to "college a cappella on crack." (Relax: it's only a metaphor; they're not really on crack.) His description evokes not only the energy of a Früvous performance, but also their playfully absurdist sense of humor. In June, during the band's first-ever Nashville show, they introduced themselves as "Sweden's best-looking band -- the Cardigans!" and then launched into a medley that inserted the chorus of the Cardigans' "Lovefool" between verses of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean."
       Band members Mike Ford, Murray Foster, Dave Matheson, and Jian Ghomeshi quickly won over their audience, often trading quips with the crowd and amongst themselves. Musically, they're always ready to improvise, mixing tight vocal harmonies with a variety of instruments, including: drums, banjo, guitars, accordion, Moog, keyboards, and even a megaphone (during their satiric "Michigan Militia"). Even in a city where people expect to hear talented musicians, Moxy Früvous's Nashville debut earned a standing ovation.
       You, dear reader, have the opportunity this Friday to see the second-ever Nashville performance of the Früvous four. As part of WRLT's "Fridays at Track 14," Moxy Früvous will be playing a free show at Union Station, on Friday the 17th, starting at 5 pm. Kentucky Thunder and Jupiter Coyote will also perform. Union Station is at 1001 Broadway; call 726-1001 for more information. To learn more about Moxy Früvous (including the origins of the band's name), check out their website at

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