They Might Be Giants sure know how keep their shows entertaining, in an
offbeat sorta way.
At the Electric Factory on Friday, November 2nd, the
loungy Apollo 18-era ditty “She’s Actual Size” was broken up when drummer Dan Hickey embarked on a solo that surpassed mere cymbal-crashing and tom-pounding. Co-Giant John Flansburgh conducted the ordeal by taking the mic and shouting out a slew of drummers’ names, prompting Hickey to imitate their styles. The stunt included side excursions into Latin rhythms and “every Stevie Wonder song recorded between 1973 and 1995”, and even went as far as an amusing compare / contrast of Keith Moon and Animal from the Muppet Show. Somehow, Hickey and Flansburgh managed to transition back into the song with relative ease.
The new “super songs” from TMBG’s latest album, Mink Car, were pervasive, but well-recieved. “Cyclops Rock” made for a fun opener, and the head-bobbing techno of “Man Its So Loud In Here” was complimented nicely by strobe lights and a disco ball. “Older” became a giant singalong, and the longtime live favorite “Drink” took on a new meaning in light of an opening set by the amusing but painfully wasted Afroman. The title cut ventured into smooth crooner tones, and “I’ve Got A Fang” dropped some wicked D&B beats.
But things didn’t stop there. The 28-song set also included a peek at
their to-be-released-eventually children’s album (the vocoder-laced “Robot Parade”) and a good share of off-kilter favorites (the baffling
20-songs-in-one “Fingertips,” the dark-yet-bouncy “Ana Ng”, and a heaping of songs from the band’s 1990 breakthrough LP, Flood).
The multi-instrumental John Linnell impressively worked keyboard, baritone sax, and accordion throughout the night, and the band as a whole proved especially flexible when, mid-set, Flansburgh put the mic to an old radio, spun the dial, and left them to jam along with the airwaves. Impromptu covers of “Puppet On A String” and “Rescue Me” followed (with Flansburgh delivering priceless falsetto vocals), and quirky hilarity ensued.