They Might Be Giants
Show Review
by Nick Mustoe

they might be giants

They Might Be Giants, Lucky Charms and Nintendo these are things of childhood. However, only one of the three recently started a 47-stop tour with Belfast’s own Oppenheimer. Saturday the 15th the band made it to The Pageant in St. Louis Missouri promoting the release of its newest album “The Else”.

The band has twenty-one years of recording and touring experience and attending one of its concerts makes it clear who and what makes that possible.  First, the band has grown up. While the two Johns (John Linnell and John Flansburgh) have been the driving behind the band for years its sound is now much more full bodied with the addition of a talented Marty Beller on drums, Dan Miller on second guitar and Danny Weinkauf on bass guitar. These add-ons make their effect known by some beautifully built highlights including a mesmerizing acoustic guitar introduction to the They Might Be Giants classic, Istanbul. The band also shows its wisdom by using this talent to create a sound with a much greater connection to traditional rock band than the sometimes simplistic but catchy flow for which it is known. 

Second, the fans have grown up, almost. With the release of the 2002 kid’s album entitled “No!” the band widened their audience past the club doors. While Saturday’s performance was not tailored to the younger fans TMBG did manage to find room for the ABCs as told in the names of countries around the world. The Pageant too, showed its diversity in the crowd from the gray haired woman to the dad that brought his thirteen-year-old son.

But more than any of these technical factors, the main appeal of a They Might Be Giants concert and what has let it continue to tour over the years is its dependability to put on a good show. Confetti flew on the chorus of “Dr. Worm”. Buddy Epson called in from the dead to lament the death of famed St. Louis nightclub Mississippi Nights and out of the two encores it became impossible to find a better surprise of the concert than when the two Johns covered Leslie Gore’s “Maybe I Know”

Lastly, They Might Be Giants have gone political. The performance of “Shadow Government” comments on the current political hopelessness with “Where’s the shadow government when you need it?” and the lyrics to Why Does the Sun Shine, which usually talk about the physical processes that take place on the surface of the sun were adapted for timeliness as well. “Scientists have learned that the sun is a huge atom smashing machine combining a failed foreign policy, a failed domestic policy and a failed presidency.”

Well, they aren’t Lucky Charms or Nintendo anymore but then again neither are we.

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