They Might Be Giants w/ Jonathan Coulton
March 10, 2010
The Deal: They Might Be Giants pack the Visulite for an hour-and-a-half of new and old tunes.
The Good: Jonathan Coulton started the night with a 30-minute set of humorous music that fit right in with the theme of the night. Definitely worth checking out the next time he's in town not the strongest vocals, but it's more about the humor. I was impressed by how many people in the crowd knew all the words to his songs.
TMBG hit the stage around 10 p.m. and opened with "Meet the Elements" a good sign of the handful of kids tunes they'd play throughout the night. However, it's not like you had to be under 15 to appreciate them the "educational" songs fit right in with the intellect and humor of the band's entire catalog of songs.
The band's cover of The Four Lads' "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" got a decent singalong, as did many of the tunes. It started, and ended, with an impressive trumpet solo. Other songs from the band's Flood album included "Birdhouse in Your Soul" and "Dead." Linnell extended a keyboard solo on "The Guitar" playing off a guitar sound that rivaled anything Flansburgh might have come up with. Linnell had a smile on his face for most of the night and the band appeared to enjoy every moment they were performing.
The addition of other band members drums, bass, guitar and horns has certainly filled out the band's sound. It no longer falls squarely on the shoulders of the two Johns, Linnell and Flansburgh. The band also found a brief moment to mention they were on Rob Tanner's show that morning and how his name sounds more like a made-up detective name than something real Tanner's name was brought up jokingly a few times during the set. Flansburgh rarely stood still, moving himself and the microphone stand back and forth around the stage and inspiring audience participation when he could.
The Bad: "Particle Man" would have been nice... A screen that showed sock puppets singing "What is a Shooting Star?" wasn't working correctly. The band made it clear early on that they wouldn't be taking requests, but that didn't stop people from yelling out song titles every chance they got. When one audience member yelled out, "They said no fucking requests!" Linnell laughed, pointed into the crowd and replied, "Yeah, what he said!"
The Verdict: They've still got it 20 years after the release of Flood, the band still sounds fantastic. Sure, some recent albums may not be their best work, but it does fit in well with the rest. It was a good mix of old and new that left fans satisfied. After all, you can't play them all and it's hard to complain about the mix they gave.
Meet the Elements
Memo to Human Resources
Istanbul (Was Constantinople)
Clap Your Hands
Where Your Eyes Don't Go
We Live in a Dump
Birdhouse in your Soul
No One Knows My Plan
The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)
What is a Shooting Star?
Upside Down Frown
Why Must I Be Sad?
Damn Good Times
They Might Be Giants
Alphabet of Nations