They Might Be Giants in Wellington, May 17, 2013

They Might Be Giants are not like any other band. The core duo has been together for more than 30 years, have released 16 albums - the most commercially successful, 1990's Flood, which featured the stupidly catchy Birdhouse In Your Soul - and are known to the masses for the theme song for Malcolm In The Middle, Boss of Me.

The Brooklyn, New York, based band also successfully produce jingles, and their kids' records should be a staple in every science-loving household.

But, first and foremost, they are the overlords of geek-pop. TMBG are loved, not because they're excellent musicians who write great indie anthems, which they are too, but for their quirky lyrics.

An excited but slightly demure crowd welcomed John Linnell (vocals, keyboards, accordion and bass sax) and John Flansburgh (guitar and vocals) and their brainy genre-defying brand of music to New Zealand for the first time since 2001.

The nerd herd shuffled along happily while Linnell and Flansburgh, supported as always by Danny Wienkauf (bass), Dan Miller (guitar) and Marty Beller (drums), powered through about 30 songs (50 if every fragment of the wonderfully weird jingle-ride Fingertips count).

They played a set dipping into most albums of their 30-year career, bringing up Birdhouse in Your Soul and Dr Worm and Istanbul (Not Constantinople).

Another highlight were Flansburgh's synth-robot-vocals on the title track of their newly released album Nanobots, and the encores How Can I Sing Like a Girl and The Mesopotamians.

The only criticism I have comes from hearing about their recent shows in Australia.

In Wellington there was some banter, mainly from the bespectacled John but apparently we missed out on the epic crowd participation spectacles and puppetry, yes puppetry, that they gave audiences over the ditch.

But there's nothing really to complain about. TMBG played for almost two hours, came back for two encores and played all the hits.  

Let's hope it won't take them another 12 years to return to New Zealand.