LIVE REVIEW: They Might Be Giants @ Riverside, Newcastle (28.01.16) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Shervin Lainez

As my drink comes precariously close to hitting the floor, I look across to see an excited middle aged woman frantically heading towards the stage. It’s the moment she has been waiting for, and as the opening chords and lyrics to Birdhouse In Your Soul ring out, it’s not just my drink being guarded from her flailing arms.

Unaware of the spillages, the moustachioed energiser bunny of They Might Be Giants’ frontman John Flansburgh positions himself towards the back of the stage. Looking down towards his guitar the usual animated frontman seems a little nonplussed as his band head into the song that put them on the map. It’s the only time his interest and energy will dip throughout a highly entertaining night. His skill as a front man kept the audience entertained all evening, with his fellow bandmates playing ping-pong with smart onstage banter and clever New York-fuelled wit.

An enthusiastic and knowledgeable crowd have made their way out on a Thursday night and they are rewarded with a lengthy set including three encores by a band who prove they’re tight, talented and right on their game.  Their signature sound is as unmistakable and experimental as ever. Classic pop songs with alternative hooks that are catchy and infectious. This is Lennon/McCartney meets Sesame Street on the Bowery.  A career-spanning set-list shows off everything they have to offer, with tracks from their most famous album Flood featuring heavily.

The band, who for the last 10 years have upgraded themselves from duo to five piece, take on each song with skill and precision. Never ones to take themselves too seriously the spirit between them all finds its way to the audience face on, and that’s the way the audience like it.

As the night moves on, instruments and positions on the stage are rotated around Flansburgh. He leaps energetically from right to left whilst taking on the drum riser whenever the moment catches him. Never slowing down he’s the undoubted focus and seems happy to be just that.

So much more than just a one hit wonder, the night is an unprecedented success, and their cover of Bills, Bills, Bills by Destiny’s Child is a highlight.

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