Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Concert Recap - They Might Be Giants 4/14/2013

I'm going to sit here and crank out as much as I can in the limited time that I have. It's what I'm going to be doing for the next three months.
Speaking of which, if any of you Phantomaniacs wants to help your ol' pal out and submit a Guest Post, please do. It can be commentary, prose, comics, a review; anything. By the time I'm done training this nitwit I'll be ready to post your naked pictures if you want to send those. Just wear a purple and green hat or something so there'll be a theme.

So I went and saw They Might Be Giants Sunday night. Hopefully you've already read my TMBG post from the other day so you know what kind of big deal this was. The band was playing Flood in its entirety, and as far as I know this is the first time they've done that. I mean, they might've done it before, but I don't know. It's not the album I would've picked for such a thing - I would've picked Lincoln, Apollo 18, or Factory Showroom - but it is the band's best-known album and the one that has gotten them the most attention over the years. It was definitely going to be a special experience to be there for it. I just hoped that we'd get a nice side serving of other non-Flood material as well, specifically "When Will You Die" and "You're On Fire". those are the two songs I wanted to hear above all others.
As a matter of fact, this is the first show I can think of in the history of all of the shows that I've seen that I've actually been hungry to hear new material. See, I've heard everything up through Factory Showroom live as many times as I really need to. That's not to say I don't ever need to hear "No One Knows My Plan" or "The Statue Got Me High" again, but I've seen 'em. Hearing stuff from the last few albums would be a treat.
But whatever happened, I was getting to see one of my favorite bands live again for the first time in at leats ten years. It was a big night.
I met up with Gnoll, the Oncoming Josh, the Big Guy, Beth Van D, Siouxie Sharron, the Grand Hoff, and Little Pond at the Corner Pub in Little Five Points before the show for dinner. I was going down there straight from work and needed some food and pre-show beers.
We were going to eat at The Vortex, but the wait was 45 to 90 minutes and nobody got time fo' dat. So I headed around the corner to the Pub. I got there first and ended up chatting with the waitress. Now, I can't say for sure that she was being flirty because I do not have a sensor to detect such things, but it's not often that girls just strike up random conversations with me. And this wasn't Hooters - it wasn't that off-putting gushing that happens because those hobags want bigger tips. But this waitress definitely had no problem telling me about her propensity to get stupid drunk. I dunno. she was nice.
I had a buffalo chicken sandwich with fries and it was great. The prices were reasonable as well - $22 for that and three beers is great as far as I'm concerned. So the Corner Pub gets two thumbs up from Phantom Troublemaker.
I also thoroughly enjoyed talking to the gang. I don't get to socialize as much as I'd like and the above bunch is a great group of people. 
We walked down the street to the Variety Playhouse after dinner. I hadn't been in that place since at least 1996 and it hasn't changed a bit. The merch table was even in the same spot. I was astonished to see that They had a purple tour shirt, with dates on the back and everything. Of course, I already have one shirt with that Drinky Crow design on it,  but I knew better than to pass up a purple shirt from one of my favorite bands ever.
I have to mention the opening band, Moon Hooch. I didn't care for them. They were very talented and I feel that they were accomplishing exactly what they were trying to accomplish, but it just was not for me. They played a single thirty minute song that was basically three guys playing techno with drums and a variety of saxophones. Quite frankly it was a fucking nightmare. I recorded about 90 seconds of video just so you could see it:

Imagine that for half an hour.
I'm running out of time here, so I'll just go ahead and say the show was amazing. It wasn't quite as magical as the one in Athens, but just getting to see Flood live was special, regardless of where the album lands on my rankings.

TMBG played a few songs from various stages of their career, including "You're On Fire".
Then they went straight into Flood, doing all of their usual playing around, crowd banter, and antics.

They made the (wise) decision to perform the album in reverse. You definitely want to close with "Birdhouse In Your Soul" over "Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love". As Gnoll pointed out, Side 2 of Flood is actually kind of weak, especially for a live show.

Once they finished Side 2, we got a very special intermission from the Avatars of They:
 
And then the better half of the album happened, starting with "We Want A Rock" (which was the first TMBG song I ever heard and one that I don't think I've seen live before) and ending with "Birdhouse", which I recorded because I'm sure there are no other live performances of the song on YouTube. I mean, it isn't very popular. But I'll bet you there aren't very many - if any - live performances of "Theme From Flood".

I told Gnoll that seeing that song live was likely a once in a lifetime experience. I can't imagine they played that one all that often, even back in the 90s.

Once Flood was done They played a few more songs, including "When Will You Die", meaning I got everything I wanted out of the show. They closed with "The Guitar" and did a full-on rock-out jam at the end of the song.
It was a fantastic night. Unlike many other bands, I would go and see TMBG again right now. Each time I have seen the guys play it has been unique and I can't wait to go again. If you have the chance, I highly recommend you check them out. they're in Europe now, but They should be back in the States in a few months and I bet They'll still be promoting Nanobots.
-Phantom

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