Moe Berg's Frenetic 'Pursuit'

review of live show at The 9:30, Washington, D.C., September 18, 1990

by Mike Joyce, Washington Post, September 20, 1990

"It's just like the Madonna show," cracked perennial wiseacre Moe Berg, shedding his T-shirt and donning another emblazoned with "I Killed Laura Palmer" at the 9:30 club Tuesday night. By then, the lead singer and songwriter for The Pursuit of Happiness had earned a wardrobe change, having spent an hour flailing about on stage with the rest of the members of the Canadian quintet.

For a while it looked as if the audience was going to have to settle for that and a lot of squalling white-noise guitar. Berg has more than a few clever songs to his credit, but his lyrics at first were hopelessly lost in a dense fog of sound. About 15 minutes into the set, though, the haze lifted sufficiently to allow Berg to give a semi-coherent reading of "Food" - as in "Your love is like greasy fried noodles, instantly gratifying" - along with the similarly offbeat "New Language" and "Something Physical."

The show had its lulls, even more than those proudly acknowledged by Berg, but it was hard not to be taken by the lighthearted frenzy of it all, especially when Berg segued from his own questionable anthem "I'm an Adult Now" to tributes to Jim Morrison and Elvis Presley.

1990 The Washington Post Company

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