Monday, August 16, 2004

TMBG at the Catalyst

I got to see They Might Be Giants at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz last night. It was actually the first live show of theirs I've been to. Generally, that's not my sort of scene, getting packed like sardines into a nightclub and having to wear ear plugs (yes, I brought ear plugs, and I'm very glad I did). But it was definitely fun to get to see TMBG perform, so it was all worth it.

A guy called Corn Mo did the opening act, and he was pretty amusing. For one guy with one accordion (and one stick strapped to his foot for whacking a cymbal) he really had a heck of a sound. He came out again later in the show to do an accordion duet with Linnell on Particle Man (here's a video of it from another show).

I managed to have a really good spot, about 10 feet from the stage, Linnell-side. That's a good side to be, I think, given the difference between Linnell and Flansburgh. Flans is the showman, he sings to the crowd. You can watch him from anywhere. Linnell sings to you. Plus, I'm just more of a Linnell fan anyway. Oh, and it was a decent vantage point for some (kinda blurry) pictures.

One of my favorite songs from the evening was Doctor Worm. I really liked the arrangement they did for it, with the shifted voice/rhythm offset thing near the end. Plus, they let off the confetti cannons at the end of the "Rabbi Vole" solo, which was a perfect place for them, especially since most people probably expected them to be saved for James K. Polk.

A fairly new, unreleased (and unrehearsed) song they did was called Fake Believe. They said it's one they're working on for their next children's project. It was kind of a fun song, though like most of their stuff, I'd need to hear it a couple more times to get a better sense of it. They weren't sure if they were going to be including it on the live shows download page or not, but I hope they do. (By the way, they're making recordings of every show on this tour available for mp3 download, $10/show. I think that's very cool.) And speaking of new songs, they also sang one they wrote especially for the Catalyst show. That's just another reason I think these guys are awesome -- they're writing a song for every single venue they play at on this tour. They're not all going to be great songs, of course, but I think it's wonderful that they're doing it.

A funny comment that I liked: For Stalk of Wheat, Dan Miller got out the Flexitone, which has a small, red ball or circle or something on it. One of the Johns said something about it adding some red into the scene, to go with Flans' maracas, I think. Flans pointed out, though, that it was only a very small amount, sort of a "homeopathic dose of red," at which there was a fair amount of laughter from the crowd. Then Linnell pointed out that they "really couldn't make that kind of a joke in New York -- no one would get it." Yay for us hippie Californians.

So anyway, it was a good show. Lots of fun all around.

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