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They Might Be Giants
— with The Jack Rubies opening —
Peabody's Down Under in Cleveland, OH
May 24, 1990 at 11:00 PM

Fan Recaps and Comments:

Tickets were $8.

Show review by Michael Heaton from The Plain Dealer, May 26 1990:

I hated They Might Be Giants' last album, "Flood" and I didn't think my opinion of the band would improve much seeing them live at Peabody's DownUnder in the Flats Thursday night.

I was right.

The group finally arrived on stage at 11 p.m. following a set by a band called the Jack Rubies. There are only two guys comprising They Must Be Giants and most of the music is pre-recorded, so I don't know what the big delay was about. The stage was bare except for some big black and white postage stamp-type things in the background. The house was packed with white teen-agers and college students who think the band's polka-rock sound is "clever."

John Flansburgh and John Linnell came out on stage with a guitar and accordion and proceeded to play a lot of songs from the last album. They did "Whistling In The Dark," "Someone Keeps Moving My Chair," "Lucky Ball And Chain," "Instanbul (Not Constantinople)," "Your Racist Friend," "Particle Man" and their big hit, "Birdhouse In Your Soul."

I think the key to their popularity with kids is that the songs are almost never more than a minute and half long. They are the perfect band for the zero-attention-span generation. And they have the knack of seeming to be mocking something out. What, we don't know, but they have a smarmy wise-guy attitude. They get up there and turn on a machine that elicits their ditty-bop computer music and do their vocal smirking into the microphone.

Being a well-known hater of this band and all that it stands for, I bent over backwards to find something nice to say about it in the interest of fairness. I liked the fact that their set was less than an hour long. And I like the band's name. They Might Be Giants is also the name of one of my favorite movies.

The 1971 film starred George C. Scott and Joanne Woodward. Scott played an eccentric rich guy who thought he was Sherlock Holmes and who was forever in search of his evil nemesis, Moriarty. Scott's greedy brother was trying to get him sent to the loony bin so he could take over the family fortune. He hired psychiatrist Woodward, who's name happened to be Watson (Dr. Watson, get it?) to declare the guy nutso. Instead she fell in love with him. The final scene in an all night supermarket was very funny.

Look for it. They run it quite a bit on late-night television. You could probably rent the video, too. And it doesn't contain even one sophomoric 30-second polka-rock computer song.