Sunday, October 11, 2009
They Might Be Giants--But They Looked Pretty Short From The Balcony!
We just saw a rockin' awesome TMBG show Saturday afternoon, where they packed the 1,000 seat Vic Theatre. There were multiple drum kits,
lots of confetti blasts,
snarky sock puppets,
and a range of eclectic instruments, including a penny whistle, accordian, bass sax, and clarinet.
From the opening notes of "Never Go To Work", to the close of the second encore, our all time favorite,"Istanbul, Not Constantinople", the Vic was vibrating to the ornate ceiling with dancing parents and kids of all ages. Boy have they grown. But they're still not too big to be good sharers, and let others play with their toys.
Back in the year 2001, our son was born and we embarked on what we jokingly called "2001: A Baby Odyssey". They Might Be Giants were on a similar path, with the 2001 recording of their first children's album, "No!".
In the intervening 8 years, they've popped out a family of 4 alternative, kidcentric discs, to educate and entertain, a fun, bedtime compilation, and podcasts that rock our world.
When we heard, in 2002, that TMBG had put out a kids album that wasn't all lullabies and 10 verses of wheels on the bus, we were all over it. As young adults, in the 80s, we had danced to They Might Be Giants' alternative rock, and were alternately amazed an annoyed by their unusual compositions. Most of the annoyed part came from those catchy tunes we couldn't get out of our brains. I like to call it my brain's "screen saver". Those crazy tunes like "Anna Ang", "Don't Let's Start" and "Dr. Worm" still have a way of popping up on auto play, whenever I'm not actively thinking of something else.
Then in 2003, we gave birth to future rock star, Sagie Contagious, and TMBG released the fantastic 4 story/4 song, hardback book and disc combo, "Bed, Bed, Bed".
In 2005, "Here Come The ABCs" came out, and we saw them in concert at The Old Town School of Folk Music around then, with our two and four year olds in tow. The small auditorium wasn't crowded, and just a hand full of kids were dancing down in front. We laughed about the "kiddie mosh pit", and they gave us a big, orange foam, They Might Be Giants hand, like you see at sporting events, for free. We cracked up at the antics of the "Deeply Felt Puppets", and bought our toddler a size 8-10 "No!" shirt, being thrifty, so he could wear it for a few years. It still fits our 3rd grader...but just barely!
Then, "Here Come The 123s", took off like a bottle of soda shaken up by a toddler, and blasted all the way to the top, winning a 2009 Grammy for Best Children's Album. How do you top that? It's elementary, my dear. You use the scientific method. Saturday's XRT concert took us on a nostalgic trip back through all of TMBGs phenomenal kids discs, including a number from their impressive newbie, "Here Comes Science". Their intelligent humor and rocking riffs will have parents and kids laughing and learning, without even trying.
When we were children of the 70s, the only giants resided at the top of bean stalks and ground trespassers' bones to make their bread. When we were small, discs weren't invented yet, and the booming genre of intelligent, funky, fun kids music was unheard of. Our kids have grown up with They Might Be Giants as an integral part of the sound track of their childhoods. And we're mighty glad they have.
Check out their excellent web site for the hot off the presses "Here Comes Science", featuring 19 new songs and videos that feature a fun, creative way to look at science. The TMBG site also has detailed info about the band's past history, future plans and even podcasts......for headphone sporting anteaters. They have merch and tunes there, so silly they'll make your face hurt.
(Here's Du-Jay's new tee from the show, since he has to kick his "No!" shirt to Sagezilla. It's a small adult size, so I hope he'll get 4 years of wear out of this one, too.)