The first time I saw Moonfruits play was at the former Umi Café Friday night open mic. They were a simple duo but their harmonies and unique sensibility for storytelling had caught my attention. I saw them again at other open mics, at small and intimate shows in various locations, and then eventually at one of their many shows at Pressed Café. I had loved that they sold jelly on their merch table, extending the concept of the band name to make you feel like you had just stepped into an other-worldly place where the moon bears fruit and you can make jelly out of it.
But of course that’s what Moonfruits do. They take you somewhere, tell you a story, describe it in detail, and they do this as if they were telling you about their day. And then it stays with you. It follows you, lives inside you, and reminds you about the fact that music is about telling our stories.
The best part about Moonfruits though isn’t their rich and textured harmonies, lyrics that command attention and focus or the fact that most of this latest album is in French (un autre niveau de satisfaction pour les francophones et francophiles). No, the best part about their work is that they make you feel like you’re in a living room with friends, telling stories by the fire. It reminds me of my roots in Québec folklore and rightly so their concerts feel as though they had invited you over for “une veillée”.
How appropriate was it then, that their latest performance at the Gladstone Theatre happened to be set with the stage for Leonard Cohen’s No Way To Say Goodbye which featured hanging fairy lights and a couch with a side table and lamp. The piano cornered the room off like an old saloon, and they filled the space with both movement and surprise, even moving into the audience and climbing onto the side table, turning the theatre into the setting for their stories.
Moonfruits have come a long way since I have seen them crunched up in the 3 foot wide flat stage space of the Umi Café. The maturity of their sound was evident when I first met them, but what is even more unmistakable is how lovely they are as people. They are generous artists, and their performances are permeated with genuine love that also inspires other artists. Their work is not only to perform as artists, but to weave and work the fabric of the artistic community.
The artistic sensibility and presence in each story, in the full album and in their musical depth reaches out to you in the audiences, plucks old memory chords within you, vibrates highs and lows with a diversity of rhythms and begs of you to be moved, as you would when a friend tells you a story from their childhood that made them the person you love today.
While it goes without saying that if you have the chance to see a show, their performances are not to be missed; but my highest recommendation is that Moonfruits is music best experienced in the presence of loved ones.