Music: They Might Be Giants and The Church at The House of Blues
Editor's Note: The featured illustration is by illustrator and writer Emma Fick, who is the published author of Snippets of Serbia. She is currently working on the illustrated book Snippets of New Orleans. To see more of Emma's work and learn more about her, visit her website or find her on Instagram and Facebook.
In November of 1992, the first House of Blues opened up in Cambridge, MA. It was originally financed by Dan Aykroyd, James Belushi , Aerosmith, Paul Shaffer, River Phoenix, and Harvard University. That original location has been gone for a while, endowing New Orleans with the oldest House of Blues locations in the country.
Like the House of Blues New Orleans location itself, two bands that recently came through town both are celebrating their music and their longevity. They Might be Giants and The Church are two quite different bands, one from Brooklyn, NY and the other from Sydney and New South Wales, Australia. Although geographically different, a nice thing about both bands performance is the whole “An Evening With” aspect.
They Might Be Giants
April 2, 2016
They Might Be Giants (TMBG) formed in 1982 by John Flansburgh and John Linnell in New York. The duos's early career existed mainly as just that, a touring duo. In 1986 the band released they first album, TMBG. The band’s name was taken from the 1971 film, They Might Be Giants. It was in turn taken from the novel, Don Quixote. The band didn't mean to keep the name, but for some reason it stuck. Flash forward to 2016 and the band has produced 19 studio albums, 10 compilations, 9 live albums, and 8 EPs.
The set at the House of Blues could have easily been stacked with tracks from this year’s pay-what-you-will album Phone Power, but instead, the 39 song set was a jaunt across the groups discography. Flood did get some extra love, but no one can blame a band for playing material off one of their most notable albums.
The "An Evening With" scenario played out in grand fashion. There were two sets and two encores. The first set was jokingly referred to as the 80% set, while the second set was the, "One you all came here to see" set. The second encore ended with the bands highest charted single and crowd favorite, "Birdhouse in Your Soul."
John and John joked around all evening, but it would have been odd had they not. The projection background of the band provided loads for the audience to enjoy and so did the bold lights they had displayed throughout their set. Oddly enough this was my first time seeing the band and I catch myself wondering why it took me so long to get to one of their concerts. Either way it was a fun ride down memory lane, even if 97% of the audience left disappointed that they didn’t hear the idyllic cover of, "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)." If you want to see a full photo gallery of the show, you can check it out here: http://jalbum.net/a/1710650
April 10, 2016
Formed in 1980, The Church has gone through several changes, but at its core has always been founding member and bassist Steve Kilby. Marty Willson-Piper (guitar, vocals) was with the band till 2013. Peter Koppes (guitars, keyboards, vocals) (1980–1992, 1997–present), Tim Powles (drums) (1994–present), and Ian Haug (guitars and vocals) (2013–present) fill out the rest of the band.
On this latest tour, the band is doing a special evening show, splitting their performance into two sets and an encore. The first set is dedicated to their 1982 album The Blurred Crusade of which they played straight through and ended with a b-side, not on the album. The second set embraced seven albums of the band’s twenty-four.
The bands last and only number one hit, “Metropolis” was played early in the set. Although not chart worthy, the band played two of their most beloved and crowd favorite songs at the end of the second set. “Under the Milky Way” and “Reptile” were well worth the evening drive in. Although the stage was set way straight forward (bells and whistles were at a minimum at best), the audience didn’t seem to mind. They were along for the ride and enjoyed every minute of it. To get a full view of what the audience saw, you can see more pictures here: http://jalbum.net/a/1713224
The House of Blues is a staple of the French Quarter and has been delighting fans of music for over 32 years. In that time, many bands have come and gone to never be heard of again. Both They Might Be Giants and The Church have managed to stand the test of time and in their journey, the House of Blues has been a part.
Kelley Crawford is a professor, writer, mentor, dancer, and constant questioner. If you would like to contact Kelley Crawford, you can email her at email@example.com.