TMBG Play LPR

Their 30th anniversary just three years away, indie rock pioneers They Might Be Giants remain as resilient as ever. It's certainly easy to take these brainy workaholics for granted when living in New York, where the duo got their start rocking East Village performance art parties; their steady touring schedule has them gigging around town at least half a dozen times a year. The casual listener need not catch every single show, but anyone who ever appreciated songs like "She's an Angel" or "Ana Ng" or "Dr. Worm" or "Subliminal"—all of which were played Saturday night during their reliably jocular set at Le Poisson Rouge—might be surprised to hear how fresh they sound after all these years.

The gimmick with last week's show had the Johns performing at least one song from each of their 13 albums. But as a special bonus, the set also featured a hilarious presentation of the best of their "Venue Songs" series—songs composed for each venue during their 2004 tour. Narrated by Josh Fried, another old-timer from the experimental East Village '80s, the mini-set resurrected winners like "(I Got Kicked in the Head Backstage at the) Stone Pony" and Albany's "The Egg." And the appearance of TMBG's sometime horn section kicked everything up a notch, as they sat in for Linnell's gorgeous "Museum of Idiots" and, among other things, helped tear the house down during the show's highlight, a blistering encore rendition of "Spy." — John Del Signore

The Dead Play Secret Shows
Late last week, rumors started to circulate that The Dead, as in the surviving members of the Grateful Dead, would be playing a series of free shows around the city on Monday. The band, after all, was in town to perform on famously crunchy gabfest, The View, and it made sense that they'd try to get some warm-up shows in before their big tour later this year. Turns out the rumors were correct, and the band held a very limited last minute contest for fans to win a pair of tickets. They played three shows: One late afternoon acoustic set at Angel Orensanz, one full band dinnertime set at The Gramercy Theater, and a late night set at Roseland to cap off the night. Those lucky enough to score a ticket were treated to three varied sets, all with unique moods and atmospheres. The Dead will be back through town at the end of the month, playing a sold out MSG show, as well as area performances in Hartford, Long Island and the Meadowlands.

X to Play Requests Setlist
Here's a gimmick more reunion bands need to implement. X, the classic LA punk band from the late 70s will be playing what they're calling "Total Request Live" sets, consisting of songs picked entirely by fans attending the shows. You can head over to their website, pick the show you'll be at, and select up to 5 songs you'd like to hear. The band will then play the most requested songs at that individual show to ensure crowd satisfaction. X have a passionate, hardcore fan base, who will likely jump at the chance to see their favorites live. The band is playing three nights at Bowery May 29th to 31st, each with its own voting, so a little bit of message board collusion could ensure quite the epic, varied series.

Also this week: