Review: ‘They Might Be Giants’

Reviewed July 9, 1992.

Reviewed July 9, 1992.

Elektra duo They Might Be Giants, touring in support of new disc “Apollo 18,” have built quite a loyal following who apparently know every lyric to every song , thanks to a string of alternative-radio hits and consecutive MTV video play for three previous albums.

Although augmented for the first time with a traditional guitar/bass/drums rhythm section, They Might Be Giants has not gone totally big-time, continuing the comic antics and weird instrumentation that have made them a college-radio favorite over the last few years.

Linnell and Flansburgh alternate lead vocals and share instrumental duties, and may be the only pop group currently on the road to use an accordion, which Linnell played quite skillfully, as the lead instrument.

Clarinet, saxophone and trumpet (with Flansburgh sometimes playing two simultaneously) also were used on the duo’s upbeat pop songs, which are cross-bred with show tunes, big band music, circus music, children’s songs and a trace of jazz, a crazy quilt of sound that is the source of the band’s appeal.

Using a minimum of props, They Might Be Giants captivated the crowd with their comic personalities. The crowd broke up at numerous unexpected announcements and the theatrical energy of John Flansburgh, who, when not singing, made use of his cordless guitar and bounced wildly around the stage as if on a pogo stick, illustrating his songs with dramatic body motions.

Guest appearances by Golden Palomino/Geffen artist Syd Straw and “Tonight Show” trumpeter Sal Marquez highlighted “The Guitar” and “The Statue Got Me High ,” adding to a truly outstanding show.

They Might Be Giants

(Wiltern Theater; 2,300 seats; $ 21 top)


Promoted by Pioneer Electronics and the Wiltern Theater.


Band: John Linnell and John Flansburgh with Kurt Hoffman, Tony Maimone and Jonathan Feinberg.
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