They Might be Giants
The first time I saw They Might be Giants was way back in the late 80’s when they came to play at MIT. Being MIT, the nerdiness level of the audience was pretty high, and I was doing nothing to bring down that average. One of the songs they played was “Why Does the Sun Shine”, their song about the sun and nuclear fusion. I immediately felt a geeky kinship with the band.
This was pretty unusual for the time. I was a very angry child. Well, actually, I just listened to very angry music. I remember a friend of mine looking at me kind of cockeyed as I cranked TMBG tunes while doing the dishes. It was much more silly than my usual heavy metal, borderline obscene fare.
Last Wednesday, at the sold out Paradise Rock Club show, I was reminded of the reason for the sudden shift in my tastes. Yeah, they are silly but they are simply naturals at it- so what’s wrong with that? Perhaps, that’s what many of us need, random silliness? The band’s lyrics conjure up absurd images, that can sometimes be thought provoking and sometimes less so. Whatever the case their songs are always fun and often hilarious.
Wednesday’s show included their 1990 Flood album in its entirety, as well as a mix of a few other oldies. Newer music included Call You Mom, Nanobots, and Tesla off of their just released album, also called Nanobots. It would’ve been nice to hear some more singles off their latest album, but I can’t complain. Most of the audience, including me, were big fans of the older stuff.
Gone are the days when John Flansburgh and John Linnell performed by themselves. The band also included guitarist Dan Miller, bassist Danny Weinkauf, drummer Marty Beller, and a full three piece horn section. Along with Linnell on the accordion and keyboards, and Flansburgh on the guitar, the group makes for a unique musical experience. Rocking at times, goofy at times.
The middle of the show was punctuated by an appearance of the “Avatars of They”, a couple of sock puppets run by Linnell and Flansburgh. I can’t imagine any other band breaking up their performance with a puppet show. However, with the fun and irreverent atmosphere at a TMBG concert it was a natural.
The show was 14+, and although I did see a couple of kids, there weren’t many. The show was definitely appropriate, and I attempted to get my 14 year old daughter to go. She had been a fan of No!, one of TMBG’s many children’s albums, but she declined. I guess I’m not cool enough. I still have too much of the nerdiness that drew me to these guys in the first place.
 Ever wonder what’s going on right now on the other side of the world? (Ana Ng) How about the general station in life of your kid’s nightlight? (Birdhouse in Your Soul) Then there’s Particle Man, which is so incredibly thought provoking that I still have no idea what it is about.
 Pencil Rain: It’s about rain… made of pencils… wear your helmets!
Hey Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had A Deal
Theme from Flood
Damn Good Times
Lost My Mind
Call You Mom
Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love
Women & Men
Lucky Ball & Chain
Whistling in the Dark
We Want a Rock
Someone Keeps Moving My Chair
They Might be Giants
Your Racist Friend
Birdhouse in Your Soul
Road Movie to Berlin
Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
When Will You Die