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Fan Recaps and Comments:
Review by Paul Robinson:
Wild Rumpus Books is a small children's bookstore in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I arrived early, which was good because the line soon became long after I got there. The bookstore opened the doors at 6PM and I proceeded to stake out a spot near the stage, in the back of the store. A large area over a rug was made in front of the stage, for children to sit and read books.
An opening act was advertised, but didn't happen. John and John emerged promptly around 7 PM. The children just loved the sound effects and voices the Johns did. John and John encouraged audience participation by having the audience clap the (off)beat for Particle Man. Before Cyclops Rock, Flans told the kids, "You might need to wear your earmuffs because this is a scary song." To which a child replied: "I like scary!"
More audience participation was mounted by the Johns asking for the whole store to do the wave. Of course, the kids enjoyed this as well.
I think the song the kids enjoyed most was Violin.
The new song [Stalk of Wheat] was catchy and quite TMBG. I'm looking forward to hearing on the new album.
Flans said that the new album would just have one song and would cost $28 dollars, jokingly...I think.
I asked their manager after the show about them touring and he said the next big tour would be next fall, to (hopefully) coincide with the new album.
The Johns were very good about signing everything that people brought in, though I could tell they were tired and distracted by people from all directions. When I went to get my cd cover signed and get a picture, I couldn't ask them any questions because some girls were pestering them to go have ice cream or something, to which Flans kept saying no. I think that very rude on the part of the girls, because they already had their time in line, and it prevented not only me from asking a question, but a father and daughter were barely listened to because the Johns were so distracted. C'mon fans! It's ok to be crazy like we sometimes are... but be considerate as well!
All in all, an A1 experience.
Review by Adam Kintopf:
Lovely instore last night. Wild Rumpus is a trendy little kids' bookstore in the fashionable Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis. It really is a neat place; very small, with old-fashioned brickwork, a ceiling that looks like a cracked egg around the edges, and animals all over the place. Seriously, I saw 1) lizards and chickens in (separate) terrariums, 2) glass panels in some areas in the floor looking down into a kind of playland for tame rats, and 3) a tailless Manx cat prowling around loose. (The rats must love that, ha ha.)
There were tons of people there. Wild Rumpus closed at five, then reopened at six, with TMBG coming on at seven. There was supposed to be an opening act, according to the store's Website, but for whatever reason they weren't there. There were some kind of tense momentspeople were squeezed in very tight, and there were a lot of kids running around and getting underfoot. The store management kept barking at the adults to step back to make room for the kids, but everybody was so squished in that there wasn't really anyplace to go. Fortunately most of the people I was rubbing up against seemed pretty nice. It was hot, too, until somebody opened some windows right next to the stage. When the store was full, people started going around into the alley and crowding around those windowsnot a bad idea.
They came on right on time. Flansy looked quite sleepy throughout, and I noticed they only did one of his songs, so maybe he was feeling under the weather or something. Still, he was quite funny and charming, as always. No drummer.
Bed Bed Bed: After this song, Flansburgh said the next number would be a little bit scary, and some kid in the front screamed "I LOVE SCARY!!!!!" Flans said, "Well, if you like scary, you should check out the third Matrix movie. Man, the plot, the plot..." He then went on to describe a cyclops for the kids (at Linnell's suggestion), saying they were "ninety feet tall, or taller! Or, occasionally, shorter."
Cyclops Rock: Noone version, of course. It was really cute, especially considering they couldn't get the Cockney "my/me" thing in sync when Linnell was doing harmonies. Then came:
Particle Man: I much prefer this song in a "small" arrangement like this. Linnell's accordion playing sounded really fine up close. During the outro, Flansburgh started doing hip-hop record-scratching sounds with his voice, and Linnell joined in and did them too. Hee hee.
Impossible: Beautiful song. Linnell really played up the "octofoo, octofee" stuff for the kids. Throughout the show, he was beaming down at the kiddies like a total dad. He seemed to be loving this performance, which was really fun to see. Afterwards, there was some small commotion outside the window, and Flansburgh asked what was going on. Somebody said there was a car trying to drive through the alley, and Flans said, "Oh, yeah? Good luck to them." Then they said they were going to teach us to do the Wave. Flansburgh said, "We think They Might Be Giants fans don't get out to sporting events as often as they should," which got a huge laugh from the apparently sports-impaired crowd. John and John demonstrated the Wave, and then Linnell said, "Never having been to a sporting event ourselves, that's the way we imagine it should go."
Violin: Lots of kids singing along on this one. After the song, Flansburgh asked the people outside the window if they were doing okay. They said they were. Linnell said he liked to think of them as "the folks at home." Then Flansburgh said they were going to play a song from their upcoming album "Out of Ideas"...
Stalk of Wheat This is a very witty little song, isn't it? Then they taught the kids how to clap on the back-beats, in preparation for:
Wicked Llittle Critta After that, they played:
No!: saying it was the first time they had ever done so without drums. (It went fine.) During the song, most of the kids gathered up by the stage were sitting down bobbing their heads in time with the music. But there was one kid at the very front who was standing up and flashdancing his ever-loving heart out for all to see. It was a scream. Did anybody see the movie version of Hedwig and the Angry Inch? Remember the scene with Young Hedwig dancing on the bed? That's the sort of thing I'm talking about. Then Flansburgh started talking about the logistics for the signing afterwards, and Linnell started doing some Middle-Eastern noodling on the accordion, in preparation for Istanbul. Flans said, "Thanks for the Hebraic background music, John." He then said they would stay as late as they needed to, and would sign everything that was brought up to them. He also said, "And don't feel like you have to buy anything, either, because that's not what this is about," then immediately added, "although I suppose for the bookstore that's exactly what this is about, so ignore what I just said." He thanked everybody for coming, including the people outside the window, who were "too broke to come in for the free show."
Istanbul (Not Constantinople): A little personal final anecdote. (People who don't like stories about babies, stop reading now.) This was my sixteen-month-old daughter's first TMBG show, and after they finished her mother and I were debating whether to wait in line to get something signed or just go home. When we looked up, Babycakes had wandered away. We panicked, of course, but then we saw hershe had toddled right up to the signing table and put her hand on John Linnell's leg! He smiled at her and said, "Oh, hi!" We passed her a slip of paper, which she handed over to him. He signed it, and made a little picture of a giraffe/horsey thing out of his name. He showed it to her, saying, "See? It's an animal." Then she waved bye-bye to him, and he waved back. Aw. Like I said, you can really tell he loves kids.