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Thursday, December 14

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« Contest: The Low Anthem TONIGHT @ Empty Bottle Review: The Dodos, The Luyas, Grandkids @ Pygmalion Music Festival, 9/23 »

Concert Mon Sep 26 2011

Review: They Might Be Giants @ The Vic, 9/23/11

20110923-They Might Be Giants_4.jpg
They Might Be Giants' John Flansburgh (photos by Steve Stearns)

I never expected the 1972 song "A Horse With No Name" to get stuck in my head after Friday night's They Might Be Giants show at the Vic, but when I woke up Saturday morning there it was — it's unimaginative two-chord self fixed into my eardrums. Midway through the show John Flansburgh and John Linnell invited the entire Onion AV Club onstage, acoustic guitars in hand, for the purpose of playing a song that has only two chords in it. "Join in, don't act like you don't know the words," Linnell called into the mic, prompting the sold-out audience to sing along to what is possibly the most boring song ever written, and transforming it into a wryly humorous piece that only TMBG could pull off.

The show was full of such playful moments — the audience dance contest, for example, with one lucky fan winning a vinyl copy of TMBG's latest album, "Join Us", and three other not-so-lucky fans that came away with booby prizes like a copy of a Rick Springfield LP. At one point the band went backstage, appearing on a giant screen in the form of sock puppets reporting "live from London", in order to appease their newest sponsor, "Epic Fail Bologna Sandwiches." And in a moment of playful hilarity, they broke into the chorus of the 1997 Chumbawamba earworm "Tubthumping," with lively audience participation.

20110923-They Might Be Giants_3.jpg
They Might Be Giants' John Linnell (photos by Steve Stearns)

There aren't many bands as unassuming as TMBG, and the makeup of the audience reflected this fact; it spanned a wide age range, with representation by more than a few silver haired fans, and some who had brought children with them, which somehow made perfect sense.

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They Might Be Giants' John Linnell (photos by Steve Stearns)

Selections from their own oeuvre included songs from more recent releases, generously sprinkled with classics like "Particle Man", "Your Racist Friend", "Older", and "Birdhouse in Your Soul." At the end of the concert it seemed they were going to leave after performing a cover of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," and snuck in "Constantinople," making everything right with the world for two precious minutes before sending the audience back into the real world, or as close as you can get to the real world from the corner of Belmont and Sheffield.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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