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
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
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.”