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"Watch Giants: They might be major" by Roger Catlin
Hartford Courant, Oct. 2, 1990:

A large crowd came out to Toad's Place in New Haven Sunday night to greet They Might Be Giants, the bookish-looking twosome who have turned eccentric pop into its own cottage industry.

Although the New York band has enjoyed an enthusiastic cult following for years, a major-label debut and increased video exposure have resulted in whole rooms of fans singing along to the most arcane lyrics, asides and phoned-in lyric snippets from their three albums.

Not that John Flansburgh and John Linnell capitalized on this willingness to sing along the way, say, Bruce Springsteen would. In fact, they seemed at every point to turn tables on conventional aspects of what they called their "rock 'n' roll gala."
Flansburgh mostly played guitar, Linnell an accordion. But for the opening tune, Linnell played a huge bass saxophone and Flansburgh played dual trumpets simultaneously to the beat of a "rock metronome, which bore its own microphone and spotlight.

The two have always depended on their own backing tapes live — even before the current controversy. But after a flub on "Particle Man," Flansburgh assured the crowd these tiny mistakes meant that they were playing absolutely live and so was the drum machine, which was located offstage "for dramatic reasons."
The two set their stage somewhat starkly (compared to the prop funhouse effect of earlier tours). Enlarged postage stamps decorated an otherwise black backdrop. A huge marching band's bass drom replaced the usual array of huge heads, giant gloves and immense signs.

The hour-or-so set seemed divided between the rockers of "Racist Friend," "Twisting" and the sublime "Don't Let's Start" and the more moody works like "Chess Piece Face" and "Shoehorn With Teeth," which began the first of two encores.

It's a wide variety of styles that swings from mock rock to pseudo polka — all of which hang solidly on the pop hooks and lyric twists the two created. Songs are the key here, and the two Johns provide a feast in a field that's grown fallow in rock.

Kooky, yes, but the Giants' songs are often strong enough to be meaningful and worth memorizing. Naturally, the crowd sang along lustily to the singles from the current "Flood" album, from the "Birdhouse in Your Soul" to a fresh arrangement of the single "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)," the old Four Lads' hit made anew by half as many lads.