Thursday, September 13, 2007

TMBG Builds a Birdhouse in My Soul

Those of you who know me (and presumably that's everyone who reads this) are aware that I am a rabid music lunatic who attends more shows per month than I have fingers and toes to count them on. I rarely (if ever - can someone do a search on this for me?) post anything here about the shows I see because I don't usually have anything important to convey about them. Especially not when I compare what I would write with what my friend Dana does on her concert blog. Anyway, point being: the fact that I'm bothering to bother you with my thoughts and feelings on the They Might Be Giants show at Ram's Head Live yesterday should speak volumes about how amazing it was. How amazing they were.

My feeling with regard to concerts is that, on a scale from 1-10 in awesomeness, all bands start with a 5 and move up or down from there. Points are awarded not just for sounding good, but for the frills and sometimes thrills that differentiate seeing a live performance and listening to a studio recording on my Bose. The Giants get a 10 for their show yesterday. The songs were great and included classics like Particle Man and Birdhouse in Your Soul, as well as choice selections from their new record The Else. But what put them over the top was the theatricality and personalization of the show. During one skit involving a phone call from "beyond the grave," Edgar Allen Poe (Baltimore celeb) called in and read a poem (which turned out to be Metallica's Enter Sandman). The audience was asked to clap - with hands above their heads - for the entirety of Particle Man, and when enthusiasm flagged and hands began to drop, John Linnell improvised a verse about lame people who don't clap at concerts. John Flansburgh had lucky first-row audience members strum his guitar. Let me not forgot that they had not one but two encores, complete with an explosion of confetti.

Well, of course I haven't done a great job of putting you in the midst of the crowd, but take my word that it was an engaging, hilarious, fun show, and well worth the long drive up to Baltimore. It was the first night of a national tour, so try to make it out to see them if you can.

On a related note, Ram's Head Live is a terrific venue.


j.elliot said...

one starving musician came by to say: ummm...jealous!


Jon said...

Not to put too fine a point on it... but you forgot all the personalized jokes they made about the name of the venue as well :-) It was that personalized that we can't even remember everything they did! Good Times.

G Note said...

Cool. Saw TMBG in a free show back in 2002 in front of the National Portrait Gallery museum. They are a fun, cool and quirky live band to see.