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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Review: They Might Be Giants took over Rialto for two hours of music and comedy

    Darien Bakas
    John Lillel of They Might Be Giants sings during the TMBG performance at Rialto Theatre on Tuesday.

    Performers like They Might Be Giants may make most of our generation uneasy by making themselves completely vulnerable in their ridiculous on and off-stage antics. However, some of us are able to understand their wacky ways and appreciate the group — which has been around for 30 years — just as much as the tipsy parents around us do.

    “In a future time, children will work together to build a giant cyborg,” were the opening lines of TMBG’s first song “Robot Parade” Tuesday night, but throughout the The Rialto Theatre box office antehall area were posted signs warning the show may not be appropriate for those of ages 14 and under.

    This was considerate and understandable, since most of TMBG’s fans have been around for long enough they may have had some young ones in tow. While there were a few young people at the show, it was more comfortable than some of the rowdier and more explicit shows with crowds in which kids can be found at the Rialto.

    Regardless, TMBG provided a soundtrack to a night where everyone acted silly. The band attracted a crowd so large it was a wonder the balcony seats had not been opened for the night.

    Think about it — these two guys have been writing ridiculous lyrics and dancing around with an accordion since before we were born, and they’re still drawing crowds.

    John Linnell showed instrumental talents akin to jazz and swing musician Benny Goodman when he whipped out a saxonette for one of the songs in the first set, switching between keyboard, vocals and soprano clarinet like a pro. Not long after, he brought in his accordion and the crowd went crazy.

    The group performed both musical and comedic riffs, with a 20-minute intermission between songs new and old like “Subliminal,” “The Statue Got Me High,” “Dr. Worm,” “I Love You for Psychological Reasons” and “Trouble Awful Devil Evil.” The last two songs are tracks off the band’s tour-namesake newest album, Phone Power.

    Linnell and John Flansburgh built up the running gag of TLC member Chilli, who apparently called and had a conversation with them on stage, admitting to being a ghost who burned down parts of Hotel Congress. If you were there, this was funny and definitely not the forced dad humor you would expect from a bunch of dads.

    Concert-goers are accustomed to being asked to do things like crouch down, jump, sway, get off that guy’s shoulders, or get off the stage, but toward the end of the show, Flansburgh asked everyone to turn to the random stranger next to them and just say hello to debunk the widespread belief that everybody’s different from everyone else. While people exchanged hellos, he said that statement is “just not true.”

    Of course, TMBG followed chants of “one last song” with their hit “Istanbul” which may or may not have been played for you by your hip world history teacher at some point in your life.

    TMBG’s night at the Rialto was one to remember. They will likely continue to go down in history as legendary losers who bring good music and fun to cities worldwide.


    Follow Gretchyn Kaylor on Twitter.

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