They Might Be Giants | 09.15.07

tmbg-color1.jpgThe band remains as weird and witty as they were on Lincoln and Apollo 18.

 

 

 

 

 

w/ Oppenheimer

The Pageant, St. Louis

After 25 years of rocking, They Might Be Giants remain one of the most unique bands playing today. I have been a TMBG fan since eighth grade. Their music is almost tailor made for young nerdy boys. The songs are so catchy, clever and quirky-it is almost too good to believe when you’re a 14-year-old science geek.  I have seen them many times over the years and they continue to impress me. They may not be a ‘hip’ band to like, but who cares? 

Opening for TMBG on this massive 50 show tour for their new album The Else is young Belfast electro-pop duo Oppenheimer. These guys charmed the crowded venue with their synthesized tunes about Twin Peaks and Allen Ginsberg.  Sounding like an intellectual version of the Postal Service, the band played a satisfying set that won over some new fans.

I looked around the venue before TMBG came out and was pleased to see the usual crowd.  They Might Be Giants draw a more diverse crowd than any other band I have ever seen. They still have their original fans, new wavers from the 80’s, but their crowd remains young and energetic. The high school freaks and middle-aged rockers were all ready for a great show.            

The Giants opened with a few songs from their new album. The new songs seemed a lot more conventional and dry than tunes from their early catalogue. Though they did play a fair number of new songs, the show mostly consisted of their "hits," which was a pleasant surprise for me. John Flansburg and John Linnell have come quite a long way since they played as a duo. Their three-piece backing band gives them a lot of rock muscle and makes for a massively entertaining show.  It was fun to hear them turn songs like "Birdhouse in Your Soul" into full on rock jams.

The band also remains as weird and witty as they were on Lincoln and Apollo 18. Their jokes about Buddy Epson and vinyl went over the heads of much of the crowd (most of whom weren’t even born when they band formed in 1982). The highlight of the night for me was an obscure cover of the Rubettes 1975 song "Baby I Know." This song was performed just by the Johns with only an accordion for accompaniment. This was an intimate moment that made me feel like I’m sure people felt when they saw them play as a duo in their first shows in Brooklyn.   

Hearing songs like "Ana Ng," "Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head" and "Snail Shell" gave me an intense sense of nostalgia. These were the songs that defined my high school career. Instead of jumping up and down in the pit, though, I found myself calmly enjoying the songs from a table in the 21 and over section. Though so many things have changed in the eight years since I first listened to Flood, TMBG refuse to grow old with me. These middle aged men jump around on stage with the vigor of a young band playing their first big gigs. They always seem eternally grateful to be able to do what they love.  Flansburg and Linnell are a treat to watch, reminding me why I loved their music so much when I was younger. | Pete Wissinger

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