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They Might Be Giants Rock Booksmith

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, November 17, 2009 01:32pm | Post a Comment
by Audra

Bookstores can be magical places for the young and old alike, but pack one wall-to-wall with They Might Be Giants fans of all ages and you have yourself a full-fledged party! At 4:00pm on Thursday, November 12, 2009, John Flansburgh and John Linnell – better known for the past 25 years as They Might Be Giants – hit Amoeba San Francisco’s neighborhood bookstore The Booksmith for a free mini-show and signing in support of their latest children’s book/DVD, Kids Go! and CD/DVD Here Comes Science.

they mights be giants

they might be giants

they might be giants

Back in 1986, the two Johns became the quirky accordion-slinging kings of college radio with the release of their self-titled debut album. However, their intergenerational appeal was cemented in 2002 with their first children’s album, No!, which presumably enjoyed the good timing of their original fan base’s own baby boom. No! was followed by 2005’s Here Come The ABCs and then 2008’s Here Come The 123s, which won the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Musical Album for Children. Here Comes Science is TMBG’s 14th studio album and fourth album for kids. Their first foray into children’s books began in 2003 with the book-and-CD combo Bed, Bed, Bed. Kids Go!, a sing-along story book illustrated by Pascal Campion, is just their second book, but given the Johns’ unstoppable energy, prolificacy, and apparent popularity, this is probably just the beginning of their publishing career.

they might be giants

they might be giants

they might be giants

They Might Be Giants’s Booksmith appearance could have been called a sold-out show if it wasn’t a free event! The excitement of babies, toddlers, kids, tweens, teens, parents, and even a few unaccompanied adults was palpable as they scrunched up shoulder to shoulder or sat cross-legged on the yards of blankets in front of the small stage at the back of the bookstore. John and John kicked off their set with “Pirate Girls Nine,” a song from Here Come The 123s that urges listeners to show off their counting-up-to-nine skills. The mini-show’s audience was heavy in the 0 – 6 age bracket, and their counting skills proved admirable. In “Pirate Girls Nine” John Flansburgh sang, “One named Polly had a parrot/The second named Polly had a parrot, too/That's the part that is confusing/And they were identical twins.”

they might be giants

they might be giants

I later asked Ben and Raf, a set of five year-old identical twins in attendance, which was their favorite song. Ben replied, “Funky monkey!” presumable in reference to the second song in the set, “Get Up and Go,” which can be found on the DVD that accompanies Kids Go! John Linnell urged the packed house to stand up during “Get Up and Go” and “Move like a monkey (Go!)/Move like a jumping bean/Move like a monkey (Go! Go! Go!).”

they might be giants

they might be giants

Halfway through their eight-song set, TMBG played their classic existential hit “Particle Man” from 1990’s Flood. The familiar black comedy of the lines, “Is he depressed or is he a mess?/Does he feel totally worthless?/Who came up with Person Man?/Degraded man, Person Man,” served as refreshingly dark jolt to the adults in the audience who might have been growing a little weary of counting to nine.

“Doctor Worm,” a rockin’ live favorite that everyone can appreciate about a worm who plays the drums (“I'm not a real doctor, but/I am a real worm/I am an actual worm/I live like a worm”), was followed by another rendition of “Get Up and Go,” then it was time to get up and go…meet John and John in the signing line! Flansburgh, Linnell, their drummer Marty Beller, and illustrator Pascal Campion signed autographs until every fan, both tall and small, had gone.

they might be giants

they might be giants