Monday, 12 April 2010

521 THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS, Cousteau, London Shepherd's Bush Empire, Monday 16 July 2001

Back to gigging in Blighty again, after our Boston trip! It didn't take too long either, thanks to a rare visit to these shores from Brooklyn's finest, the two Johns! So, old TMBG fan "Peej" (who introduced me to this band in the first place, playing me "Shoehorn With Teeth" back in 1988) collected Rachel and myself, and after a slight parking hiccup, we hit the Empire at 7.30 for a huge surprise - it's Monday night, it's TMBG, and yet the place is heaving!

This, unfortunately, meant that we didn't have too much room to move away from the bar and hide from support act Cousteau. I walked away from their Fleadh set, but there was no escape tonight! So we had to endure their inappropriate Nick Cave doomy balladry - apart from, as Peej pointed out, there being more death in Nick Cave songs! The band were OK, but the vocalist sucked big time.

But never mind; we had a treat awaiting us, and at the appointed hour of 9.15, the house lights went down, and white light and cacophonous noise heralded the arrival of the touring 5-piece They Might Be Giants. And immediately into "Angel", their touching, tender finest hour. Wow!

"It's great to play a place with so many... balconies!" the energetic John Flansburgh said, before introducing "Fingertips", their collection of cut-up soundbites from 1992's "Apollo 18" as, "a song we never get right!" I'd disagree; they totally nailed it for me! In fact, the whole of this set was pretty much spot-on; a superb collection of their uniquely oddball simple pop tunes, ranging from their entire recorded canon of work, played with their off-the-wall style and just enough quippy humour to sail this side of self-indulgence. "Birdhouse In Your Soul" ("our hit, back in the day!") was perfect, and rocked this packed-out house, and a raucous "How Does The Sun Shine?" sealed it for me. I'm pretty sure that the sheer amount of people present tonight surprised the 2 Johns as much as it did us, but their performance matched the occasion. Great stuff!

1 comment:

  1. I don't remember the parking problems or the support act but I do remember Fingertips being absolutely bang on.

    I also think we got stopped by the police on Queens Drive on the way home.