“Spring time in Rochester, dig out your L.L. Bean boots,” quipped John Flansburgh, one half of alternative rock duo They Might Be Giants (TMBG) during the band’s show at Anthology. The weather outside was unusually frightful but that did not keep the band from performing two delightful sets in front of a sold out crowd on Thursday night.
Having grown-up in the eighties, I listened to TMBG but kind of forgot about these guys. I never formed an emotional attachment to the music, but appreciated the hits. In concert, the band was a pleasant surprise. TMBG bounced around by highlighting its illustrious career and proved to be somewhat jazzy by adding sixth man, touring trumpeter Curt Ramm on several tunes. Rochester-native Dan Miller was expert on the guitar as was the rest of the band who were comfortable playing a menagerie of styles particularly during songs like “Fingertips” which hit upon nearly all known genres in an eight minutes span.
Lead singer John Linnell has been fronting the act for more than three decades and his voice still sounded like the young Giant on the band’s eponymously named debut album released in 1986. The other John, guitarist Flansburgh generally stayed in the background but did sing on a few numbers. The pair told jokes and seemed genuinely content performing to the faithful.
The hits like “Don’t Let’s Start” were crowd pleasers and “Particle Man” towards the end turned into a massive sing-along. TMBG’s cover of Destiny’s Child’s “Bills, Bills, Bills” had members of the audience singing along too.
The band itself was on stage for more than two and a half hours and the show went on past midnight after a couple of encores. Despite the late hour, most people stuck around and certainly would have been happy to hear a few more songs. 8.5 / 10