They Might Be Giants Crack 'The Egg'

Spinner, October 20, 2009
by John Linnell

We have just played a pair of shows at The Egg, an enormous cement bowl in Albany, NY that was constructed in the high modernist -- some would say brutalist -- style that was all the rage in the 1960s. The Egg looks to us like where we would live if the Soviets had won the Cold War. Not that I'd complain -- sometimes I find myself yearning for a more streamlined, uniform lifestyle. The closest modern society can come to that is Gap t-shirts and the iPod, but a building like The Egg suggests a higher level of ovarian smoothness. As John Flansburgh sings in 'Albany' (available on our 'Venue Songs' CD):

The Egg, exciting and old
The Egg, you'll do what you're told
The Egg, the Egg, no corners for you

On the bill with us was Peter Stampfel, whose band The Holy Modal Rounders shattered the folk duo paradigm in the early 1960s and blasted out a mountain pass for bands like They Might Be Giants to follow. Peter and his daughter Zoe played a set of expulsive, freakish material so at odds with the space age environs that both band and venue were enhanced.

This week's vintage snap was made with a creaking Zeiss Ikon Tenax camera with a fungus-ravaged lens. Perversely, it takes square 24 x 24mm pictures on 35mm film, in this case expired Kodak Gold. The camera predates both The Egg and The Holy Modal Rounders, but somehow the colors harmonize with the subject.

Next week: When 24 x 24mm is still too big.