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Moxy Fruvous: Everyone needs a flashlight to play at MIT

Ajai Bharadwaj--The Tech
Honest Bob and the Factory to Dealer Incentives open for Moxy Fruvous at LSC's May 15 concert in La Sala de Puerto Rico.

By Yaron Koren
Staff Reporter

After an amazing concert last year, expectations were deservedly high for the Moxy Früvous show on May 15 in La Sala de Puerto Rico, sponsored by LSC. The Ontario-based band didn't disappoint with a stellar sold-out show that combined humor and extraordinary musicality and left the audience in high spirits, hoping the event would become an annual tradition.

Once again, the show was opened by Honest Bob and the Factory-to-Dealer Incentives, who provided a good dose of their quirky, They Might Be Giants-style rock, including a fun chemistry-metaphor number and a poppy Nine Inch Nails cover, to the appreciative audience. This intrepid reporter got made fun of by the band during the show for skewering their name in an article written before the concert. Well, here's my apologetic follow-up statement: their name is Honest Bob and the Factory-to-Dealer Incentives, and they are a force of nerd-dom to be reckoned with. Go buy their album, if you like good music, or if you did well on your math SAT. Hope this helps.

After the hour-long opening act, the stage darkened and a purple light filled the room, along with a synthesizer drone. Moxy Früvous came out and three members of the foursome started playing on drums in what eventually became an awesome trance-like, super-extended version of "Sahara."

The band played an inspired two-hour set, with songs from all their albums, as well as concert favorites like the rap version of "Green Eggs and Ham." They ranged from a rocking "King of Spain" to a soulful, a capella version of "I've Gotta Get a Message to You," to a heartfelt final encore of "The Drinking Song," in which they invited the swaying audience to sing along.

The show also occasioned the playing of three new songs, two of which, "Half As Much" and "I'll Hold You," were being premiered. All three songs were well-crafted but disappointingly sounded much like the lame, alt-rock music that Moxy Früvous used to stand apart from. Insipid, touchy-feely lyrics such as those of "Sad Girl" ("taking her cue from every ad, girl") certainly helped to give the impression that the songs are part of a deliberate attempt by the band to score a mainstream radio hit. It'll be interesting to see if the ploy works, but in any case let's hope it doesn't represent a permanent trend for the band.

As is always the case with their concerts, much of the fun was not in hearing the usual songs, but in the between-song banter and musical spontaneity which have made Moxy Früvous a live act with very few peers. This show was no exception, and all in all the band played through about five complete improvised songs, some of which could have been comfortably at home on a lesser band's actual playlist. One highlight: after lead singer Jian Ghomeshi lost a ring on stage, someone from the audience offered up a flashlight to help him search. This led to an amazing impromptu performance of "Everyone Has a Flashlight at MIT," during which everyone who had a flashlight, an impressively large number of people even by MIT standards, started waving their flashlights around like lighters.

The ring was eventually recovered.