It’s not very often that They Might Be Giants come over to Europe from North America – indeed, Geth has been waiting to see them for approximately quarter of a century – so when we heard earlier this year that they would be doing a few UK dates, we made sure to book tickets. It was well worth it, because they put on a really good show, with lots of banter and comedy interludes in between the tunes.
Before the gig started:
Me: How many people do you reckon have come here just to hear the Malcolm In The Middle theme song?
Geth: Nobody. It looks like quite a geeky, well-informed audience.
Guy behind us: Hey, play the Malcolm In The Middle song!
Geth: Okay, one.
Geth and I got to the Queen’s Hall in plenty of time, as it turned out, because although a support act was advertised, they never materialised, and They Might Be Giants didn’t arrive on stage until an hour after the doors opened. It was worth the wait, though, because they launched into an absolutely storming first set. They opened with new track The Communists Have The Music – apparently there’s a brand new video coming for that next week, so I will be checking it out then! The old favourites soon showed up too, with Particle Man featuring a brilliant interpolation of Sia’s Chandelier, and Birdhouse In Your Soul appearing unexpectedly early (though very much appreciated by me). There was also a run-out for The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight), their alternative-lyrics version of the classic song.
The band played a lot of new songs – complete with tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment that the audience might not appreciate them as much as the classics! I personally found the new stuff really interesting, and I will definitely be listening to the latest album over the course of the next week.
Dead was another highlight of the first set, and I must also give a shout-out to the brilliant brass instrumentalist the band had on tour with them – his trumpet and trombone sections were fantastic and really added to the atmosphere of the gig. The set finished with some interesting experimental instrumental stuff, and a nicely-timed twenty-minute interval enabled Geth to go and get us some more drinks – always appreciated!
The second set was launched with the video for Last Wave – which is actually Aerosmith and Run DMC’s video for Walk This Way, best explained here. We were then treated to a rendition of How Can I Sing Like a Girl?, which was given a really poignant context by current events. Other highlights of the second set for me were Istanbul (Not Constantinople) and Whistling In The Dark, but pretty much everything was a real treat – the band really kept up the energy for the whole evening.
My only complaint was that the gig ended at just the wrong time – Geth and I ran out of the Queen’s Hall just as the number 5 bus was pulling away, and we ended up splurging on a taxi instead! Great night out though – I will definitely go see the band again when they next play the UK, even if it takes another twenty-five years.
(They never played Boss Of Me (the Malcolm In The Middle theme song), incidentally.)