TMBG/JoCo

So this is a little out of date as I’ve been busy with some stuff lately.

Last month I went to the They Might Be Giants concert in Chicago that Jonathan Coulton opened for.I love both groups, as they produce wacky lyrics with upbeat, catchy music, so I’d say that probably ranks as one of the top ten best nights of my life. Idrove up with Justin from work and his girlfriend Novah, whom I know from the Myst fan community. It was a pretty fun drive, talking about TV shows and nerdy stuff. One of these days I’ll get to watch X-Files and find out what the deal with it is.

So the show was awesome, JoCo played some songs from his new album, Artificial Heart, and I really liked “Sticking It To Myself” – very catchy. I hadn’t seen him perform before, so it was great to see that, especially since he now has a couple of musicians backing him up. Of course he did “Code Monkey,” and some other old ones too.

Then there was the interminable wait until John and John finally made their appearance! I did buy a signed copy of their new CD, Join Us, which I think may be the best album they’ve released in 10+ years. Linnell looked pretty much the same as ever (except for his lack of Converse shoes! *gasp*) but Flans has apparently decided to grow some horrific facial hair which makes him look (imho) a bit like he belongs in a suspicious-looking white van. I was pretty startled that I did not once see Linnell do his signature “claw hand” gesture during the performance!

They opened with “Dead,” which was surprising – in fact, they did a lot of Flood music, despite it being about twenty years old now and much of isn’t their most popular stuff. I assume that some of that was because of the absence of their backup guitarist Dan Miller, which certainly changed a few of their pieces like the standard super-long guitar intro to “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” and “When Will You Die,” which includes a listing of each of the musicians waiting for the person in question to die. I gathered from Twitter afterwards that Dan M had some sort of family emergency that prevented him from playing a number of the shows around that time.

Next up was “Can’t Keep Johnny Down,” which became one of my top TMBG favorites the moment I heard the opening measures. I was so psyched during the whole show, especially songs like this, that I kept jumping up and down (okay, normal behavior for me at concerts) and apparently my flying elbows made Justin fear for his life, as he was standing right behind me. Then they did a variety of older songs which were nice, including “Your Racist Friend” which I wouldn’t have expected to ever hear performed live these days, but sounded great, and a variety of songs from the new album. Of course, being in Chicago, they called up the Onion’s AV Club to do “Tubthumping” with them on stage. “Ana Ng” was another high point in the show for me, despite the fact that we all know it so well, it’s just so eternal! “Judy Is Your Vietnam” is also a great new one, and every time I hear it I have to ponder, “what makes Judy the singer’s Vietnam? Was he unable to conquer her, or what?” “Birdhouse In Your Soul” and “The Mesopotamians” were also expected and required listening, but are always always good.

By the time we left, I was running high enough to last me a solid week, despite being completely tired out from jumping up and down for basically the entire show including JoCo’s performance, and partially-deaf for about half an hour afterwards from standing about three meters from Linnell’s keyboard setup and even less from the speaker tower.

2 Responses to “TMBG/JoCo”

  1. Matt
    | Reply

    Being that close to the speakers is pretty crazy.. I’m way too much of a hearing wimp for that, haha. Sounds like it was a great time though. Do you plan on going to another TMBG concert in the future?

    • ellen
      | Reply

      They don’t tour out here very much, since they live in NYC, so I’ve only been to three of their shows. I think if I went to concerts more often I’d need to be a lot more careful about standing in front of the speakers – and by the end of the show I was glad I had a kleenex in my pocket by chance to stick in my ears the way somebody near me was demonstrating.

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