Any conversation about They Might Be Giants starts for me with a memory of seeing them with Tim, Rebecca, JT, and Bluebird of Friendliness knows who else six or seven years ago at the old Royal Grove in Lincoln, NE.
It was a strip club.
Not during TMBG, though! The venue regularly held rock shows, then clear everybody out after the music and switch over.
It was the James K. Polk tour, complete with light show, confetti, bunting and Polk banners. The Band of Dans killed. Linnell gave me a masters class in surliness, while Flansburgh rocked. out. on. the Telecaster, lifting it high for anything remotely resembling a big riff, roaming the stage with his wireless mic and stand, and tearing into his background vocals with an enthusiasm usually reserved for the showiest of show choir members.
Happily, not too much has changed.
Jill, Doug, and I were thoroughly rocked by the Giants’ set Friday night.
Kudos to the Beaumont for starting yet another show on time; this is becoming quite the habit over there. And the sound was solid, with the exception that Flansburgh’s vocals were a little buried.
TMBG’s current incarnation is a stripped-down, loose outfit that reminds me of nothing so much as early Elvis Costello. Their set spanned their entire career, including the expected highlights from “Flood” and a few selections from their recent children’s albums (“Seven”). Flansburgh joked (At least I think he was joking) that the band doesn’t rehearse for their children’s gigs (they had one Saturday) except for onstage at their adult shows.
Given my history with the band, hearing the phrase “adult shows” from the stage was extra-special.
TMBG gave us a few surprises, including a masterful acoustic guitar introduction to “Istanbul,” a noisy, deconstructed interlude in the middle of “Particle Man,” Flansburgh introducing the members of the band… twice… and a pleasantly ramshackle version of “Fingertips.”
If you’ve ever been a fan of the band, or think you might become one, catch them on tour. They don’t disappoint. -h