“Happy Monday night, everybody!” They Might Be Giants co-frontman John Flansburgh declared to an enthusiastic crowd at Toronto’s Mod Club Theatre, and really, there was no better company for a dreary Monday evening (July 23) than these legendary nerd rockers. In a audience full of ironic t-shirts and bald pates, the two Johns (Flansburgh and Linnell), with a full band in two, kicked out a solid set of new tunes (“The Cap’m,” “I’m Impressed”) from their latest album, The Else. Punctuated by their trademark comedic chatter, it’d be hard to find any other band that holds impromptu onstage séances to conjure the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt, who promptly demanded that they “play their old songs!” (One can imagine screechy old Eleanor was dancing up an underworld storm to a particularly wild version of “Birdhouse in Your Soul.”) TMBG also scored high with the crowd by delivering plenty of favorites (“Istanbul”) for the bespectacled masses. After all, only they could take something as uncool as rattling off names of countries to music (“Alphabet of Nations,” of course) and make into something totally epic and, well, totally cool.
We asked: Do you think They Might Be Giants work better as serious indie rock or as kiddie rock?