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They Might Be Giants
— with Reluctant Debutantes opening —
Rockafellas' in Columbia, SC
February 2, 1987

Fan Recaps and Comments:

Preview of the show from the Columbia Record, Jan. 23, 1987:

John Flansburgh and John Linnell make music you can dance to — if you can find time between fits of laughter.

The duo have a band called They Might Be Giants. They have an album by the same name on Bar None Records. It's an incredible mishmash of comedy, contemporary pop and funky social statements. It rocks, it rolls, and it injects current pop music with a healthy dose of irreverence. After listening to these 19 songs about life in the looney lane, I'm just thankful these two guys have an outlet for their overabundant creative energy. It would be a terrifying world with them walking around keeping thoughts such as these pent up inside:

"All the people are so happy now, their heads are caving in. I'm glad they are a snowman with protective rubber skin." OR "Everything right is wrong again, just like in the long, long trailer. All the dishes got broken and the car kept driving, and nobody would stop to save her." And from "Youth Culture Killed My Dog,"
"Bacharach and David used to write his favorite songs. Never would he worry, he'd just run and fetch the ball. But the hiphop and the white funk just blew away my puppy's mind." Get the idea? Well, it gets better and better. There's "Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head," a socially-conscious Freddie and the Dreamers-like tune with a funky disco break. "Number Three" is a hill-billy folk song with a tuba-filled coda that reminds you of a Frankie and Annette beach movie.

"Hide Away Folk Family" has a spaghetti western theme that gives way to Manilow-like syrupyness before giving way to psychedelic metal. "Toddler Hiway" is an a 'cappella story for kids on a Toys-R-Us shopping spree. "Hope That I Get Old Before I Die" is a beer-guzzling polka with touches of modern electronic keyboard doodling. "We're ready to take on Bruce head to head," Flansburgh told Cash Box magazine. "Our next album is going to be a six-record box."
Flansburgh plays guitar, and Linnell plays the accordion. They're surrounded by tape loops, synthesizers, drum machines and a ton of studio effects. The resulting music is not only very listenable, it's also astonishingly deep in texture. "We have 19 songs on this album and they're all hits, nothing but hits." Flansburgh said. "We're waiting until each and every song charts before we release any more."

They better get that new release ready. "Everything Right Is Wrong Again" is like John Lennon at his zaniest, and "Don't Let's Start" is one of the best pop songs of the decade. Both of these tunes would add spice to any radio playlist. Then there's "Rabid Child," a synthesizer-laced ballad about a kid who stays in his room all day and talks to truckers on a CB. The only words he knows are "hammer down" and "rabbit ears." The song's final line is delivered with such heartfelt compassion, "If you pass the rabid child, say 'hammer down' for me," it makes your eyes puddle up with tears.

Onstage, Linnell and Flansburgh become performing arists, using huge, paper-mache puppets, sombreros and over-sized cue cards to help create the deranged pictures in the songs. (They Might Be Giants will visit Rockafellas', February 2, during their current "Bring Me the Head of Kenny Rogers" World Tour '87.) Tales of harmless lunacy filled with incredible harmonies and flamboyant melodies make They Might Be Giants a warm breath of originality blowing on the back of pop music's neck. If you'd like a quick taste of what they're all about, call the "They Might Be Giants Dial-A-Song," (718) 387-6962. Be prepared for anything.