Venue Songs

by Chris Combs

supported by
  • Streaming + Download

    Includes high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more. Paying supporters also get unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app.
    Purchasable with gift card

      name your price




In 2004, They Might Be Giants undertook a writing challenge: to write a song for every venue they played during their tour. Fast forward a few years, and my friend Miles runs merchandise for The Residents, and in Atlanta he plays TMBG's song for that venue, the Variety Playhouse.

TMBG did not make songs for any other place The Residents are playing this year, and I think it's a shame. Poor Miles, living a life largely devoid of venue songs. Well, no more I say! I have decided to write and record songs for each venue that is not already covered by TMBG.


released March 2, 2013


all rights reserved


Track Name: Crescent Ballroom
In Phoenix, Arizona
at the Crescent ballroom
The Crescent is a present
but don't open it too soon
Track Name: Scottish Rite Theater
Rite, laddy
Rite, laddy
Rite, laddy
Rite, laddy
Rite, laddy

Och, an unsightly pox upon you and your family.
Track Name: Kessler Theater
When you come down to Dallas, Texas
be sure to visit at the Kessler
When you come down to Dallas, Texas
be sure to visit at the Kessler

They got rides and games and balloons for all the kids
an official journalist to write down what you did
and all of this for just half a quid

oh wait... that's British money
Track Name: Kessler 2
In a world ruled by violence
where the law is on its own side
there is only one man
who can stand up to the tyranny

He's back, and this time he's not alone

Kessler 2
Track Name: Fitzgerald Upstairs
Where can I put these Batman comics?
Where can I put these porcelain dolls?
Is there a place for these Hot Pockets?
Is there a place I can fit them all?

And the moon boots and the Pet Rock and the Simpsons t-shirt
and the bird cage and the peanuts and the Monopoly board?

Put it where it fits, Gerald: upstairs
Put it where it fits, Gerald: upstairs
Put it where it fits, Gerald: upstairs

Clear the ballroom for our guests
they need a place to dance

Put it where it fits, Gerald: upstairs
Put it where it fits, Gerald: upstairs
Put it where it fits, Gerald: upstairs
Put it where it fits, Gerald: upstairs
Track Name: Carrboro Arts Center
Carrboro, North Carolina
I sure hope they don't have killer bees
Track Name: Stage 48
"I've got terrible news"

What is it, Doctor?

"You'll have to brace yourself. Are you braced?"

Yes, yes, go on!

"Sorry I had to make sure. Now - remember when told you the unique and charming way that life evolves on this planet?"

You said that an individual organism goes through all stages of evolution, and within a single lifetime.

"Yes, yes. Now, mutations are sometimes introduced by viruses. And viruses can be carried by things such as insects. Insects like the one that bit your son."

You don't mean...?

"Yes, yes. I'm afraid it's true. Unless we can find an antidote in six hours, your son will mutate to the next stage of evolution: Stage 48."
Track Name: Sixth And I Synagogue
Oh when you went away
I didn't know what to say
I was too proud
would not allow
my weakness to show in any way

and so I continued on
and I denied I could be wrong
but I do need you
in my life now
if only I could figure out how

to win you back
show you I've changed
earned some maturity with age
so I 'm writing this letter yo you

and when you read this note
and hear the truth
I sincerely hope
that you'll make me the happiest guy
by meeting me
yes meet me at the Sixth and I
Track Name: World Cafe Live
welcome to the rest of your life
you won't have time to say goodbye
this is your resting place
there is no chance of escape

from the World Cafe Live
from the World Cafe Live

you are my prisoner now
Track Name: ICA
I see a guy with a shotgun
I see a girl with a chainsaw arm
I see a purple Furbee
I see a soapbox derby

I see a kettle of tea
I see a black and white TV
I see a box of matchsticks
I see a New York Knick

I see all these things out here at ICA

I see a shopping mall
I see a bird that's bald
I see a venue called
Track Name: Iron Horse
you can be a winner at the Iron Horse
you can get your dinner at the Iron Horse
everyone's a sinner at the Iron Horse
and the Horse is looking for you
yes the Horse is looking for you

you may be a winner at the Iron Horse
I think you're looking thinner at the Iron Horse
did you see the movie Ben-Hur at the Iron Horse
because the Horse is looking for you now
Track Name: Schubas Tavern
deté und Schubas
deté und Schubas
deté und Schubas

lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit

deté und Schubas
Track Name: Lincoln Hall
Lincoln, but not the one you're thinkin'

Samuel K. Lincoln was born in Chicago on February 16th, 1913
He died at the ripe old age of 89
He stopped bathing in 1972

Lincoln, but not the one you're thinkin'
Wooo that boy was stinkin'
I'm talkin' 'bout Lincoln

to honour his legacy,
a theater was built and named after him
also to honour his legacy,
the dressing rooms have not been cleaned since 1985

Lincoln, but not the one you're thinkin'
Samuel K. Lincoln
Track Name: Turner Hall
I looked up and saw
the marquee on the Turner Hall
said "Residents tonight"
Residents tonight

and I thought "Turner Hall?
Well I hardly know her at all!"

So I went inside and spoke with the merch guy
asked for a Classic Eye, do you have one in my size?

He said "No, we sold out in Chicago.
Is there something else you would like?"

Um... give me uh...
oh how about one of those coins?
Yeah, that look pretty hot.
Track Name: The Cedar
I think you'll find The Cedar is just the kind
of place you'll want to be forever and ever

though I suspect they've perfected
hypnotic mind control

I think you'll find The Cedar is just fine
Track Name: Hawthorne
at the Hawthorne
all your dreams come true, 'cause
at the Hawthorne
dreams are looking for you

don't be afraid
pretend it's a game
when you open that door
think of what you're hoping for

at the Hawthorne
all your secret desires
at the Hawthorne
are hanging from red wires
at the Hawthorne
you'll start to believe
at the Hawthorne
and you'll never want to leave
from the Hawthorne
Track Name: Neptune Theatre
it's a song about my brother
it was written by my mother

with my sister and the bass and my uncle on the drums
it started as a lark but look at what we've become

it was started by my cousin
but he left and now it's us in
Track Name: Bimbo's
Let's do this and make the walls bleed

When you're in SF be sure and visit Bimbo's
there's no better place to be than at Bimbo's

be sure to ask for the house special
it's a salad, it comes with bacon

everybody tell your friends about Bimbo's
it's just what the doctor ordered, it's Bimbo's
Track Name: El Rey Theatre
did you hear the news about the old El Rey
it'll be torn down and replaced
by an exact duplicate of the old El Rey
but this one will have a better taste

like strawberries in winter
or an apricot in spring
or a snozzberry in summer
but I've never heard of such a thing

and after they build the new El Rey
you know that the hipsters will say
it just ain't the same as the old El Rey
that tasted like cardboard in May
Track Name: Belly Up
Belly Up
Belly Up

Belly Up, Belly Up

Belly Up
Belly Up

Belly Up, Belly Up

Belly Up
Track Name: Secret Show
secret show
secret show
it's a show that's by invitation only

secret show
secret show
and the only invitee is the spirit of Hemi
Track Name: Rio Theatre
if you go to the Rio in Santa Cruz
you should know it's not on Melrose Avenue

you'll have to cross the Water
by that I don't mean wet water
I mean the street, the street called Water
then it's one more block to what you're after

if you go to the Rio
Track Name: The South Dakota Situation
In Minneapolis we
waved to Miles said that we'd see
him in Seattle

and we rode away in the bus
it occurred to not one of us
that we'd soon battle for our lives

In South Dakota (Rapid City)
The bus broke down (man it's freezing)
We made a plan (gotta get outta here)
so we split up (carry all the gear)

Hein and Kevin and Bob in a van
Duane will fix the bus if he can
Randy and Chuck waitin' for plane
And Miles' plan doesn't change

snow is falling (everywhere)
the van is out there (somewhere)
the bus is out there (somewhere)
and god knows where Miles is

all of the flights are grounded
and Bob was eaten by wolves, or so someone said
I'm starting to believe it's the end
so cancel Seattle, go to Portland

after two days in a small van
Hein begins to look at Kevin
like he's a meal

Miles missed the Portland message
so in Seattle he is stranded
we know how that feels

Chuck and Randy are in Denver
playing a game called what's that odor?
because the airport steals their joy

now everything's fine (we made it Portland)
Seattle's rescheduled (hooray for our fans)
Bob wasn't eaten (that guy was lying)
and the bus is back (and this time it's flying!)

that's quite an adventure that we had
someday we'll look back and we'll laugh
but for now we will count our blessings
as we go on marching to the sea

Planga-La Laboratories recommends:

If you like Venue Songs, you may also like: