Shows/1987-10-09b

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"They Might Be Giants try everything once" by Charles Patterino
The Daily Collegian, Oct. 27, 1987:

At their four-weekend stand at the Village Gate in New York City, the two Johns wailed away in front of those giant heads like the hyperactive garage band progeny of Lawrence Welk and Laurie Anderson.

Backed by prerecorded tapes, Flansburgh chopped at his guitar and Linnell pumped his accordion with wild abandon. They slashed through tough versions of their future-pop hits, "Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head" and "Don't Let's Start". They also stopped for some good-natured, arty silliness like doing an instrumental "My Funny Valentine" on accordion and melodica. They opened the show by singing a new song with tall red velvet hats perched on their heads.

[...] At the Village Gate, the crowd yelled enthusiastically for many different songs, some of which haven't even been recorded yet. TMBG attracts a witty crowd, as evidenced by the woman who yelled, "Which one's John?" between songs. When the shouts for an encore persisted, Flansburgh deadpanned "C'mon, you know we can't." TMBG couldn't do any songs that weren't already on their prerecorded backing tapes.

When asked about using tapes in their live show, Flansburgh said, "There will always be some people who will say that we're not a real band unless we get a rhythm section. We've tried to find drummers, but the ones who can play all the different rhythms in our songs are playing in Broadway pit bands. We don't have the money to compete."