Thursday, February 28, 2013

Song of the Day - Day 836

Today's song is...

Greek Number Three

I am not at all familiar with Greek and as such, this sounds like gibberish to me. I have heard that it is neither especially well translated nor pronounced, but the fact that it exists at all is awesome. My brain automatically groups this song with On Earth My Nina, in the category of "entertaining and slightly silly but very cool projects Linnell has engaged in". I wonder if he actually memorized the Greek in order to record it or if he read off a sheet with pronunciations or something. I also rather wonder how long it took him to get the syllables to come out right with the melody. So many questions I will never know the answer to.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Song of the Day - Day 835

Today's song is...

You're On Fire

Next to Call You Mom, this is the next best song I have heard from Nanobots so far. It's soooooo good.  I am in love with the lyrics. And this is the first Nanobots tracks where I can say that. The matter of fact way, in which Linnell informs the subject of the song that his head is on fire, is hilarious and perfect. He might as well be telling them that their shoe is untied. And then there is that guitar part, flipping back and forth between the two guitars in the left and right channels (listen on headphones if you heaven't already, super cool). And that neat clarinet part at the end. Plus, how can you go wrong with a song where Flansy sings "combustible head" over and over again? Yup, this one is a winner.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Song of the Day - Day 834

Today's song is...

Rosa Parks, C'est Moi

I am pleased to say that this is the very last Partly Cloudy Patriot song on the Song Of The Day list. Though the list is barely a list anymore.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Record Store Day

April 21, 2012 - Princeton Public Library - Princeton, NJ

A free outdoor show to promote Record Store Day, followed by a signing at the Princeton Record Exchange.

Being their super early, though not as early as many of my friends, we got to see pretty much the entire stage set-up assembled. We also got to watch soundcheck, which had to have been a little awkward for the band, since we were already all there as an audience. Linnell announced to the crowd before they started, "Hey, soundcheck. We're not going to be graded on this." They ran through Polk. With some additional riffing to get the sound right. Linnell joked afterward, "thanks for coming to our show. Hope you liked it."

TMBG 4/21/12 #2

I hope I can say this without anyone thinking I am too creepy. But one of the highlights of this show for me was that both Marty and Dan brought there families with them, so there was a lot of adorable children running around before the show. Marty had Violet and Noah on stage with him while he was getting set-up. One of the kids was sitting at the drum kit for a bit and Violet stood next to her dad with her hands covering her ears while he played. So cute. And Noah still has his duck that he has had with him every time I have seen that kid since he was a year old.

Before the sound check, Dan was chasing his little girl around the plaza as she toddled this way and that way. Giant Dan and tiny Piper make a sight too impossibly cute for words. When the show started the kids were all sitting up and the front. Piper did a lot of dancing while Dan made crazy adorable "daddy faces" at her from the stage. God, I am such a sucker for dads with their kids. And this show was like cute kid overload.

Once the real show started, TMBG played When Will You Die, We Live In A Dump, Alphabet Of Nations, Pencil Rain, Birdhouse, Damn Good Times, Fingertips, Cloisonné, The Mesopotamians, Can't Keep Johnny Down and New York City for an encore.

Flans declared that everything in Princeton was now free and that the Starbucks down the street had set the coffee beans free.

Flans recommended everyone check out the record store and especially recommended the $1 bin. He said he had once gotten 50 records for $50 including a Naz album that he was pretty sure was worth more than $1.

Before Pencil Rain, Flans said that the next song was actually recorded on vinyl in the '80s. Then both he and Linnell made some record scratching sounds.

Flans: "You know every time we're under a tent we start getting sentimental about all of our friends who are divorced. Brings a tear to me eye. Such beautiful kids. (some laughter from the audience) Come on, it's a rock show people. If I can't swear, can I at least not say inappropriate things in a public forum."

Personally, I thought Flans calling himself out for saying something potentially inappropriate was funnier than what he said in the first place.

Linnell introduced the guitar solo in Birdhouse by saying "John and Dan, I'm talking to you guys."

Flans counted that lines in Mysterious Whisper on his fingers while he wandered around the stage, which I thought was funny.

Flans attempted to engage Linnell in some dialogue about cable programming, asking him if he was watching Girls. Flans said he preferred Mad Men.

Flans went back his old joke about stealing bass clarinets from high schools and then donating them back to the schools. "We believe that music is the future. Just like Benjamin Button."

Flans encouraged everyone to come to the signing and said if anyone wanted to go eat and then come back an hour later to the signing, they would still be there. He said, in fact, that was what they were planning on doing. That he'd be there in about an hour. He was going to go watch an episode of Game of Thrones.

Flans thanked everyone for coming, including thanking a kid in a blue shirt individually. He said they's see him in 2030 when he would be running the club. He thanked the band and the library for hosting the show. "Originally this was supposed to be in-store performance. Then we realized that might be a little stuffy." Seeing the inside of the record store, I can safely say it would have been more than a little stuffy.

After the show, I had to sneak under a barrier to retrieve the setlist that was being held for me. Written on the back of a flier for an event at the library. Classy and very unique.


Then I headed over to the record store with Gabby to capture her moment with the Johns on film. They were set up at a table outside the store and the line stretched down the block, but moved remarkably quickly. Before I knew it, it was my turn to awkwardly present my items to be signed. I started with my Join Us liner notes which only needed to be signed by Linnell. He commented that they were a little worse for the wear, and I explained that they had gotten wet at the Brooklyn show last year. I said something about them being my memento from that show, then Flans started indicating I should hurry up. I had then sign my Factory Showroom and The Else vinyls as well (the later purchased at The Record Exchange), then posed for my own photo with the Johns. And unlike my last one, Linnell is smiling in this one and actually looks like he wants to be there. Hurray!!


Afterward, I hung out with a crowd of my friends, chatting with Victor and John Carter while we waited for all of our crew to make it through the line. And we ended the evening getting delicious ice cream at a place a few blocks down. Yum!

All in all, a very successful day :-)

TMBG 4/21/12 #5
Puppet guitar!!

TMBG 4/21/12 #6

TMBG 4/21/12 #14

TMBG 4/21/12 #16

TMBG 4/21/12 #17

TMBG 4/21/12 #22


TMBG 4/21/12 #26

TMBG 4/21/12 #32





Zombie Flans!







Beware Falling Microphone Stands

March 10, 2012 - Terminal 5 - New York, NY

I am gonna come right out and say it. Not a fan of Terminal 5. The events of getting into this venue stressed me out so much I was in tears by the time I got to the stage, and it really affected my enjoyment of the whole evening. The venue treated fans like cattle in the stocks, herding us around the facility in bizarre fashion with little idea of what was going on. And they treated the folks on the IFC list even worse, forcing them to wait outside while the rest of us were dumped on a rooftop terrace. I'll spare you a more detailed rant, but suffice it to say, I have never had such a bad experience with a venue and I didn't even get the worst of it.

And it's too bad, because if I can get past the bad memories that preceded the show, the show itself was fantastic. High energy. Super rockin'. There was a celebratory air to the night, I think, both because it was the end of the tour and the band was once again on their home turf. The set was light on banter but heavy on knock-out performances of some of the band's greatest hits.

There was some entertainment to be had while waiting for the show. We took an expedition to Crumbs for delicious cupcakes. And while we spent a lot of time waiting in the cold, the entertainment mostly came from the band's failed attempts to get in to the front door of the venue. The stage door was a block over on the other side of the building, but apparently about half the band didn't get the memo. First Mark Pender, who was once again joining the band on trumpet, appeared and wandered among the fans scattered about the sidewalk. Eventually, Becky took pity on him and told him where to find the door. Then Dan appeared and had to be similarly directed.

Finally, Linnell showed up, having parked in the garage across the street. We saw him peaking out the garage door and then disappear and were sure he was seeking an alternate exit from the garage to avoid the hoard of fans. But he reappeared several minutes later, with a rolling case in tow and headed straight for the crowd. I swear Linnell just has an aura around him that demands respect and the fans on the sidewalk instinctively stepped away to make a path like he was a higher being walking among us. Meanwhile, I drummed up all the courage that was in me and stepped forward to tell him the door was a block over on 55th. Only a sentence but one of my more nerve wracking life experiences. He initially looked alarmed when he realized I was going to say something to him, but switched to relief when he realized I was just offering directions. He said thanks, and rapidly headed off around the block. And I can forever add "gave Linnell directions" to my list of band encounter highlights. (Note: this was the first thing I ever consciously remember saying to the man.)

Then followed all the stressful crap with the venue. But I eventually ended up slightly left of center, in the second or third row. My view was somewhat limited by the very tall people to my right. And our safety was threatened by some overly enthusiastic moshers at center stage, but they pissed off enough people that they were subdued early on.

Jonathan Coulton got things started with a rockin' set of his own. The highlight of his set was that he had invited Suzanne Vega to join him on stage for a performance of Now I Am An Arsonist, which was beautiful and moving.

JoCo setlist: Code Monkey - Sticking It To Myself - Big Bag World One - Still Alive - Je Suis Rick Springfield - Now I Am An Arsonist - I'm Your Moon - Shop Vac - Re: Your Brains - I Feel Fantastic

TMBG setlist: Birdhouse In Your Soul - Cowtown - Mr. Me - Clap Your Hands - Can't Keep Johnny Down - Damn Good Times - Snowball In Hell - Particle Man - Ana Ng - Careful What You Pack - Battle For The Planet Of The Apes - Paranoid - Pandor Jingle - Spoiler Alert - The Mesopotamians - Lie Still, Little Bottle - Cloisonné - Don't Let's Start - We Live In A Dump - Where Your Eyes Don't Go - New York City - Spy - Dr. Evil - Doctor Worm Encore - Celebration - When Will You Die Encore 2 - How Can I Sing Like A Girl? - Istanbul

Several songs in, the Johns paused for a moment to examine their surroundings. They commented on the multiple balconies and the "VVIPP" section. Then scolded someone from throwing something from the balcony. Flansburgh also asked if they used to build boats in the venue. It was just that huge and cavernous.

The Avatars continued to develop their Snowball bridge. Paul informed Joe that he had been drinking coffee for 14 hours, which Joe disputed. But Paul insisted that he knew because he spent all his time watching him. After delivering his "time is money kick" line, Joe told Paul he was going to back away slowly. And Paul said that was find because he could still tell him how he had been following him around even while he was backing away.

The Avatars opened their set with Paranoid rather than talking first. Afterward, Blue declared he was "fucking high" in a falsetto. Then Green said he was low in a deep voice and they riffed back and forth briefly switching from high to low. That amused me. The Supreme Court made another appearance, having once again taken all the Avatars' supply of Pandor and voted 9-0 that the Avatars were awesome. The puppets thanked Jonathan Coulton for letting them ride in his van. They said the Giants had kicked them off the bus halfway through the tour because they got tired of them eating all the cookies. So they had ridden the rest of the way with JoCo and Christian and Adam.

Flansburgh claimed that the bass clarinet had been declared the most endangered instrument in rock music by National Geographic. He also called it the "policeman of the orchestra".

Linnell did his narration about the 30s again during Spy. He actually did it word for word which makes me think he must be quoting something. "This is the sound of the '30s. The sound of the swing era. Sounds kind of scratchy after all these years. If only it sounded like this." Then a bunch of noise from the band. And then a bit about how the music reminded him of being back and some of the classic ballrooms but that you would be unable to recreate it on you 78s.

Robin came out to do Dr. Evil and asked everyone if they had a good Purim. She said that she had realized that there are only two kinds of doctors in the world: good ones and evil ones. After the song, Flans said they were continuing with doctor songs because it was New York. And Linnell added that this song was about the third kind of doctor: the worm doctor.

Which, of course, led into Doctor Worm. And a very memorable performance it was. About halfway through, just after he finished singing some backing vocals on one of the choruses, Dan Miller's mic stand toppled off the stage and onto a photographer in the photographer's pit. It seemed to take Dan a minute to realize what had happened but when he did, he stared down at the scene below for a second with a look of such shock on his face, I couldn't help but laugh. Then he signaled Victor and jumped down into the pit to collect the mic stand and check that the photographer was okay. (He was, as was the camera, miraculously.) Dan passed the stand and the mic back up to Victor, who had it hooked back up in no time flat. Meanwhile, after, giving the photographer a hug, Dan ran around the side of the stage to get back up. Flans and Danny were doing the "solo" and Linnell went over to the keyboard to deliver the all important "horn" sound effect at the end, just as Victor stepped away from the mic and Dan ran across the stage to seamlessly slide back in to the keyboard for the chorus. You wouldn't even know anything had happened if you only saw it from that point on. Danny leapt off the drum riser, the band finished the song, and The Gothamist, whose photographer had been on the receiving end of the mic stand, had a seriously awesome headline for the next day: "They Might Be Giants Almost Killed A Gothamist Photographer Last Night."

The band went right into the 123 Band Intro when they came back for the encore, again without actually introducing the band. Pender rather showed them all up, blowing the roof off the place when it was his turn. Danny responded by taking his towel and walking across the stage to drape it over Pender's head. Pender proceeded to shake his head around with the towel on it, causing it to flap around. It was rather ridiculous.

When they finally wrapped the show with Istanbul, it was loaded with fake endings and Flans loosening his guitar strings to be able to pull them off rock n roll style while he played. It was the culmination of an excellent show, despite the issues with the venue, and an even more excellent tour. And eventually, some many hours later, I even got to where I was supposed to sleep, after missing a train and being stuck in a New Jersey train station in the middle of the night. Good times, people. Good times.

TMBG 3/10/12 #5

TMBG 3/10/12 #6

TMBG 3/10/12 #13

TMBG 3/10/12 #15



TMBG 3/10/12 #18

TMBG 3/10/12 #21





TMBG 3/10/12 #33


TMBG 3/10/12 #39


TMBG 3/10/12 #44



Song of the Day - Day 833

Today's song is...

New Orleans

Whoa! Linnell trying to do do heavy metal is always freaky (see: Cut the Strings). But this is a great opportunity to check out the versatile guitar stylings of Dan Miller as he takes on some grungier guitar licks than he usually gets to experiment with. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Song of the Day - Day 832

Today's song is...

Solid Liquid Gas

I really love Here Comes Science, but this is the one song on it that I was kind of "eh" about. Perfectly decent song, just not as interesting as the others. I think it presents its scientific concept too bluntly without enough lyrical or story telling interest. And the music is good, but not as good as some of the other songs on the album. Even the video, while cute, isn't as good as its peers. But I do like that little electronic noise that fades out at the end of the song. That part is pretty cool.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Damn Good Times

March 9, 2012 - Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel - Providence, RI

I feel like my primary memory of many of these shows from early 2012, is of how cold it was waiting outside for them to start. I hate being cold so, with a few exceptions, the waiting part wasn't very fun. This show, at least, had several convenient cars to sit in to get warm. And I happened to be outside at the right moment to catch Dan on his way into the club and have him sign my Join Us vinyl from my 100th show. He asked us how the guitars had sounded the previous night. And I felt a little dumb because I didn't have an answer. Fortunately, others had paid more attention than I.

In a change of pace from my last several shows, I watched this one from all the way on the left in front of the drum kit. It's always nice to switch things up and get a different view for pictures.

JoCo setlist: Code Monkey - Sticking It To Myself - Big Bad World One - Still Alive - I'm Your Moon - Shop Vac - Re: Your Brains - I Feel Fantastic

TMBG setlist: Mr. Me - Can't Keep Johnny Down - New York City - Birdhouse In Your Soul - Damn Good Times - Careful What You Pack - Where Your Eyes Don't Go - Particle Man - Snowball In Hell - Doctor Worm - Clap Your Hands - Battle For The Planet of the Apes - Paranoid - Pandor Jingle - Spoiler Alert - Cloisonné - Ana Ng - We Live In A Dump - Don't Let's Start - Spy - How Can I Sing Like A Girl - When Will You Die Encore - The Mesopotamians - Celebration - Fingertips Encore 2 - Why Does The Sun Shine? - Istanbul

New York City featured the extended ending as it appears on the album which was pretty cool.

Flansburgh was particularly impressed with the audience's delivery of "Damn" in Damn Good Times. He had us recreate it several times after the song and I believe recorded it as well.

I noticed something while I was watching a video of Clap Your Hands that I don't know if I noticed at the time. A short way into the song, Danny had to rescue Marty, when he noticed that the support arm on one of the cymbals had gone loose and was falling down onto the snare. While Marty played on, Danny reached in and straightened the cymbal and tightened up the wing nut on the fly. No idea if I just forgot this event entirely or was looking the other way, but it was kind of cool to watch on the video.

I believe I was once again on the losing side of the ape battle. I know at one of these shows, Flans switched the sides and had the band be the apes, but as I recall my team still lost on that go round. That might have been a different night though.

Flansburgh flubbed up the lines to Cloisonné in humorous fashion and later remarked that he had lost his concentration while singing about losing his concentration which felt very meta.

The Johns did the traditional conducting routine at the end of Spy. Linnell went first and inserted some narration about the Big Band era into his conducting. It was something about how great the sound of the 30s was but when you tried to recreate it, it sounded like "this". And then he had the band play some cacophonous noise to represent how terrible it would sound. Then there was something about the old '75s and some more noise. It was rather fantastic. Then Flans took a turn and cycled around the band members in random sequence for a while before finally finishing the song.

Our practice in doing the wave during When Will You Die paid off at this show, and we completed a fairly successful execution. My friends on the other end of the stage said that this got quite the surprised and impressed reaction from Danny, but I couldn't see him. I did, however, have a great view of Marty doing his "fill for Phil" in Celebration, which I always enjoy.

If I am not mistaken, this is the show where Flans bestowed the nickname "Fake ID" on our friend Paul. It's possible that was the day before, but I don't think so. Maybe Paul can confirm.

And that, sadly, is as far as my memory goes. But please enjoy these pictures from the evening.

TMBG 3/9/12 #7

TMBG 3/9/12 #8