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Topic: istanbul

They ‘Probably Get That a Lot’

They Might Be Giants invaded Cain’s last night; setlist and photos ensue.

A high school teacher of mine first played They Might Be Giants for me in class, and while I can’t recall which song he picked, I do remember purchasing “A User’s Guide to They Might Be Giants” sometime soon after that. While I didn’t quickly fall in love, I returned to that compilation album in college, mostly because I was fond of John Linnell’s sweet and endearing, if bizarre songwriting.

As such, the band’s punchy rock sound was initially pretty overwhelming for me, since I so often listened to its songs for the humor in the lyrics. It was sort of like catching a left hook with my face, unexpectedly.

Last night, Linnell and John Flansburgh — aided by drummer Marty Beller, bassist Danny Weinkauf and guitarist Dan Miller — gave Cain’s Ballroom a show it’s never seen before and will never see again, replete with plenty of their signature deadpan comedy, crowd-goofing, a Black Sabbath-soundtracked puppet show and, of course, a slew of its very best songs that touched on practically every era of TMBG’s 30-year career.

“Istanbul” got a gnarly, Flanbsburgh-led (very much the showman of the band) guitar solo early on that reminded people, “Oh, yeah, they rock.” I wouldn’t have imagined that ballroom full of nerds jumping up and down so hard that I couldn’t take a steady photograph, but it most definitely happened.

“Birdhouse in Your Soul” was aged and bloated compared to its tight, poppy original arrangement, but I suppose that’s what happens to songs when you play them day in and day out for 20 years. “Marty Beller Mask” was one of the songs off the band’s rarities disc “Album Raises New and Troubling Questions,” and while I would’ve loved to hear its excellent performance of Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping,” “Marty Beller” is arguably much funnier.

Opener Jonathan Coulton deserves a gold medal in the art of deadpan. The guy’s songs are all informed by boring corporate culture, and he manages to imbue them with a goofy, lovable quality that’s purely endearing. He was the perfect opener.

I would like to see TMBG again, if only to hear “The Statue Got Me High,” which was sadly missing from last night’s festivities. Let’s just hope the group makes the trip all the way to Oklahoma City on its next go-round.

Setlist:
• “Can’t Keep Johnny Down”
• “Celebration”
• “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)”
• “The Mesopotamians”
• unknown song
• “Clap Your Hands”
• “Ana Ng”
• “People vs. Apes”
• “Birdhouse in Your Soul”
• conga line
• “Withered Hope”
• “Old Pine Box”
• “Marty Beller Mask”
• unknown song
• “We Live in a Dump”
• puppet show
• “Cloisonné”
• “Alphabet of Nations”
• “Fingertips”
• “Cowtown”
• “Particle Man”
• “When Will You Die”
• encore break
• “How Can I Sing Like a Girl?”
• “Doctor Worm”
• encore break
• “The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)”
• “Dead”
by Matt Carney 02.02.2012 2 years ago
at 01:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
 
 
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