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Review: They Might Be Giants at The Vogue

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TMBG at The Vogue. - PHOTO BY PAUL F. P. POGUE.
  • Photo by Paul F. P. Pogue.
  • TMBG at The Vogue.

They Might be Giants
The Vogue, Sept. 22
4 stars

It is verifiably impossible to look at a band, even a really quirky one, the same way once they’ve done the official theme to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Especially if it’s a really memorable version, a song you catch, like a cold.

And yet, if any band could do that and still remain relevant, it’s They Might Be Giants, who played to a packed house at the Vogue last Thursday. They occupy a unique space in the musical sphere, a band that can do a children’s album and appear on Animaniacs and sell out to the Mouse and still have it all make sense. This is a band that pre-dates the end of irony, decades ahead of their time. They were born for the age of blogging and epic fail and lolcatz and the social media show that never ends.

The group’s founders, the two Johns, Flansburgh and Linnell, have still got it. Linnell in particular maintains his crystal-clear voice that spits out the rapid-fire logic puzzles of the twisty-turny lyrics.

Their live sound is a little busy, a little thick, interfering with the complex but understated arrangements of their albums. But in a way that added to the experience - one more thing to try to keep up with, and wondering if they’ll be able to handle it. It’s algebra rock, and this is perhaps the only band in history in which those “solving for X” skills might come in handy. When they did the time-honored tradition of splitting the audience in half and having each side sing along, it helped a bit to have a slide ruler on hand.

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