They Might Be Giants @ Royce Hall 11/14/09
Did you know that They Might Be Giants records albums for kids? That are educational? And still rock? If it was inevitable that all the long-standing indie music fans would grow up and have kids, it would follow that all the long-standing indie bands would grow up and have kids, too. And why should either group have to resign themselves to a life of mind-numbing Kidz Bop or Wiggles tunes?
Thankfully, TMBG has come to the rescue of hip parents and their musically discerning offspring everywhere. Here Comes Science marks their latest "kid specific" album, with 19 songs (and videos to accompany them) explaining subjects ranging from paleontology to photosynthesis in a way that is smart, concise, and detailed enough to probably win you a point or two on your next MCAT exam. Despite the band joking that "in these days of a collapsing musical industry, it's not bad to have a Plan B", the music on Here Comes Science is good in the same way TMBG's "adult" albums are, which is to say a) there's something for everyone and b) auditory boredom is an impossibility.
And, like their music, their live show last weekend at UCLA's Royce Hall was something the whole family could readily enjoy. Channeling the band's belief that "kids are natural thrill seekers, and our songs are pretty action packed", TMBG seamlessly melded puppets, pogoing drummers, hand clapping, singing in the round, and multiple confetti blasts before ending with Flood's Istanbul (Not Constantinople), instantly bringing the over 30 set back to their college years. As the last guitar notes faded in the dark hall, you could almost forget you weren't flannel and Doc Martin-clad, getting ready to hit the bars post-show. That is, until the band shouted "NOW IT'S TIME FOR STICKERS!!!" But even that appealed to the masses. I mean, who doesn't love free stickers?