Tuesday, 3 August 2010

395 THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS, Catchers, London Garage, Monday 18 January 1999

A sell-out gig to kick off 1999's gigging year! Took the day off and had an afternoon up the Smoke with Rachel and her friend Sarah, shopping and visiting the Egyptian exhibit at the British Museum, before hitting the venue at 7 to successfully shift our spare ticket (poor PG is ill), getting into a Dutch auction and selling it for £25 to an American guy, much to the disappointment of the competing Greek lass! So, with my ill-gotten gains, I got the round in at a nearby pub, then we hit the venue in ample time for Catchers' set of unobtrusive strumalong songs at 9. Sort of a limp Irish Everything But The Girl, they were mildly diverting but nothing more.

Spotted Jonathan Ross (not Jonathan King this time!) and voluminously-proportioned wife arrive at the by-now heaving venue before TMBG took the stage at 10.15. Now a 7-piece "live" act, with 2 brass instrumentalists augmenting the line-up, they kicked off with a splendid "New York City", one of the rockier and bouncier, but no less sing-along, numbers from their last LP, 1997's "Factory Showroom", and proceeded to play a varied set of their clever, unique and fun US college pop. The set was very entertaining, if slightly self-indulgent (a few more songs and a little less twatting about would've helped for me) with highlights including a sing-along "Shoehorn With Teeth" and a frenetic early "Polka", played firstly very fast, then even faster! Big John Flansburgh was the main vocalist and focus, as he conducted the crowd with the ease of a seasoned carnival barker, with the manically grinning John Linnell contributing occasional lead vocals, some crazy tenor sax and squeezebox.

For me, though, the set picked up considerably for the encores; a brilliantly touching "Angel" and a riotous "Birdhouse In Your Soul" preceded some tomfoolery, with puppet heads singing "Exquisite Dead Guy" and big John getting a conga line going by exhorting the crowd, viz; "everybody conga! I'm NOT fucking kidding!!" So, I conga-ed at a gig - another TMBG first!

Oh yeh, and Jonathan Ross was down the front, singing along to a whole load of numbers, including obscure album tracks, so respect to him!

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