An Evening with They Might Be Giants

Pancakes and Whiskey, January 30, 2015
by Lesley Keller

A loyal fanbase that spans decades is hard to come by, but fans of Brooklyn nerd-pop band, They Might Be Giants, certainly defined the word. The first of a year of shows held on the last Sunday of the month was sold out completely in short order. February and March are also sold out, and April is not too far behind. When I read the description of the night’s festivities, I was intrigued. “An Evening With…” was all it said. What would happen onstage tonight? Everything was open to speculation, and as someone who had never seen this band perform live, I was justified in my feelings.

The crowd was buzzing an hour before anyone took the stage. Nearby chatter was mostly about how many people they were able to “convert” into TMBG fans. I think the highest number I’d overheard was 20. Two minutes before show time, one of the spotlights overhead shattered, sprinkling bits of glass onto the stage. Was this foreshadowing of the events to come?

As the band took the stage, I knew it would be interesting, to say the least. They were an older, more seasoned band that definitely knew how to have a great time. Suddenly, “An Evening With…” made a lot more sense. This is the kind of show you have to leave all your preconceived notions at the door for. Their songs were short. Jarringly short to the point I thought I was hearing jingles. They had a bit of banter with the crowd about how their only jokes would be about bosoms. Yes, not boobs, bosoms. I laughed.

This is not stuffy, serious music. This music made everyone in that crowd raise their hands and shout, literally. I haven’t seen so many hands in the air since a Michael Jackson concert, and definitely not at a show in New York. Doing most of the talking, John Flansburgh talked about Dial-A-Song, an initiative originally where fans could dial a number and listen to a song left on voicemail message, the updated online version is where fans can hear a new song each week. A nifty idea from one of the most whimsical bands I’ve ever seen. Fitting. Over the course of the night, the band debuted 5 never played songs to a ravenous crowd. I’m not sure how I’ve gone so long without having heard this band, but I know there was an accordion and I liked it.

There are plenty of opportunities left to see this band for yourself besides the aforementioned sold out dates… and by the way, “An Evening With…” also means “not going to keep you out super late on a Sunday.” No excuses. You’re welcome.