Screaming Into The Abyss

They Might Be Giants - Full Report
By Ben Zvan
On September 18, 2008 at 13:50

Cable Fight!The show started with Moon Maan. They're okay, but not my kind of thing. Sounds like a typical alt-rock group where most of the songs sound pretty much the same as the rest.

If I learned one thing from the show, it's that TMBG's music appeals to a broad demographic. While I didn't hear any grumbles from the crowd about blatantly liberal statements made by John, the age range was extremely wide. Many fans were my age (30s) but many had black Xs on their hands indicating they were under 21. I even ran into a Junior from my drawing class this summer who was introduced to them via Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns) (2002).

Spider!If I learned two things from the show, it's that I haven't really been keeping up with the band. I have the original stand-bys like Lincoln and They Might Be Giants and I love listening to them, but I don't have any of the new stuff. I guess, when I heard they were starting to do children's music, it didn't occur to me that I was missing 15 years of TMBG history already. Now I need to check out the rest of their catalog and see if there's anything I need to pick up.

If I learned three things from the show, it's that TMBG puts on an awesome live show. Their audience interaction is flawless, and their energy level was hard for me to keep up with. Every time I took a break from shooting (not gonna do that again), they did something I wished I had caught with the camera. Luckily, my second shooter, MK was there for me.

Make a Little Bird House in Your SoulThe theme of the show was the "Second Annual Swear-a-Thon", though they only swore a couple of times and slightly sheepishly at that. They made it a goal to play at least one song from every album, which meant we all got to see how good they are at making children's music that parents will like too. I'd recommend them if you're getting tired of listening to Barney every time you get into the car.

I didn't make the free, kids show on Saturday due to a conflict with a Belgian beer festival in St. Paul, but a friend made it and had many of the same things to say about them that I do. The live show was great, they kept the audience (kids this time) interested, and basically rocked out for the little ones. I suppose that might explain the wide age range present at First Avenue. The band started out in the 80s with an un-classifiable musical style that appealed to the slightly nerdy non-conformists of the era, they kept at it for 25 years and now, they're playing for the children of their original fans, keeping everyone, including the next generation, happy and involved.

I'm glad to see that TMBG has kept creative, fresh and active over their career. Unlike several concerts I've seen, this one renewed my interest in the band. I'll be keeping track of them more closely and definitely seeing their next live show.

-- Photos of They Might Be Giants by Ben Zvan Photography with help from Glimpses of Soul

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