Music » Critics' Picks

They Might Be Giants

Saturday, May 6, at 8 p.m. The Pageant (6161 Delmar Boulevard)

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OK, so maybe They Might Be Giants asked for it by writing whimsical, too-clever songs about presidents, superheroes, grocery bags and the mythical wedding of Marvin Gaye and Phil Ochs. Even their new CD/DVD set, Venue Songs, is a bit of a gimmick, featuring 30 original tunes written especially for each venue on their 2005 tour. But the ageless pair don't deserve their for-nerds-only reputation — They Might Be Giants have an underrated talent for aching melancholia, for seeing the sad, wistful heart inside even the most pointy-headed goofs. Humor in music always holds the potential for disaster — a potential the two Johns realize occasionally — but at their best, TMBG hang their gags on a sturdy frame of melody and emotion.

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