First Avenue

It's been an odd journey for They Might Be Giants, but then again that's what you would have expected from the Brooklyn-based duo of John Flansburgh and John Linnell. They began, of course, as an alternative-rock outfit in the early '80s. "I think we kind of maybe point to 1982 as the first time we performed as They Might Be Giants," says Linnell. "We did a show—oh, God, I'm forgetting." Yes, it has been ages. Along the way the band developed a rabid following, became almost an alternative to alternative, and wound up with a concurrent career making educational songs for kids. How did that last happen? "We didn't really think we were making any kind of career choice," explains Linnell. While doing background music for the Fox TV series Malcolm in the Middle, the duo made an album "for the entire family" called No. It sold well, and was one of the reasons Disney executives tapped the Johns to put out more kids' music. They have released a total of four such albums to date. For this tour, the band is performing adult shows, kid shows, and a 20th anniversary celebration of their album Flood, which they will deliver to the Twin Cities. "We've been doing great business," Linnell states. "We're sort of winding our way back to New York." Plans are to tour through early next year, and then finish their next "grown-up" record. With the Guggenheim Grotto. 14+. $20. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. P.F. Wilson

The Tragically Hip

O'Shaughnessy Auditorium

Did you know that Canada has a Walk of Fame? It does. Located in Toronto, it includes but a slim 123 members added since its establishment in 1998. Among those with a star along the enshrined path are such expected names as Wayne Gretzky, Neil Young, and Jim Carrey. But in 2002, Kingston, Ontario's the Tragically Hip joined ranks of such esteemed inductees—though the distinction does little to represent how important the band has been north of the border over the past two decades. While failing to find the same level of success in the U.S., Gordon Downie and Co. rarely perform anything but arena shows in Canada (think a U2-sized affair without the drag of actually having to see U2), though the band's humble demeanor and earthly sound might not suggest such rock-star status. The band's 11th and most recent studio album, We Are the Same, was produced by Bob Rock (Metallica) and was released this past spring. $25-$28. 7:30 p.m. 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul; 651.690.6700.—Chris DeLine

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