Saturday, February 16

Winter 2007 USA tour recap

Tommy Larkins and Jonathan Richman by Ken Duffy

See photos of the December 2007 show at Great American Music Hall in San Francisco with the Rubinoos

Thanks Ken!

Your World is Beautiful... I'll Take The Subway to Your Suburb Some Time

Despite the fact that I was dead tired on Friday night (and had for some crazy reason agreed to pick up a shift at the restuarant where I used to work the next morning) I went out to Safari Sam's because I knew that I was in for something great. I did not realize that I was in for what might be the best show I have ever seen. Listening to live Jonathan Richman/Modern Lovers live albums gave the impression that the songs would be great, the stage banter would be top notch, and I would be thoroughly charmed. However, nothing could prepare me for what it's like to actually be there. The line up was simply Tommy Larkins on the drums, and Jonathan alternating between the guitar, and the sleigh bells. The sleigh bell segments had him showing off some very fun dance moves, but then again so did many of the guitar segments. He sang effortlessly in four different languages (English, Spanish, French, and Italian.) During the first Spanish song he translated almost every line after he sung them, during the Italian song he translated one word teasingly commenting afterwards, "And that's all you get." You can tell that he enjoys interacting with his audience, and it was clear that nearly everyone in attendance felt the same way towards him. It was the highest level of respect for an artist that I have ever seen from a crowd. Regardless of the slightly uncomfortable atmosphere (a packed room with no air conditioning) everyone stood and watched attentively not wanting to miss a thing. Except for the couples who were slow dancing. Something tells me that any future Jonathan Richman show that I attend will not seem complete without couples slow dancing. I wish that I could offer more to describe how amazing a show it actually was, but I think it's something you just have to see for yourself. [via]

Thanks Marion!


JoJo a Go-Go at SoHo

So it's come to this--you go to a concert and the most brilliant performance artist shows up instead. That's the case with Jonathan Richman's show at SoHo Wednesday night. For as much as he sings his sweet-silly songs, as much as he does his sly hip-sway dance steps, as much as he picks a fancy acoustic guitar (he even buried fave "I was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar" in the instrumental intro to the second half of his set), he also makes the audience roar with laughter. Who is this man on stage? With his seeming stoner stare and paeans to love he often seems a bit simple, some kind of rock and roll rube. But then there's the song about Vermeer. Or a version of "Let Here Go into the Darkness" in which he shows us the troubles with love not just in English but in French, Italian, and even Hebrew. It's a great bit--men and women are at each other everywhere--but it's a better bit because of who delivers it. The man who seemed the mayor of simpleton just went all Berlitz on the audience, and did it with differing male and female accents, even. At some speed.

Richman gapes with innocent enthusiasm at his loves, and that doesn’t mean just girls, with whom his songs rarely get to second base. Indeed, what I think is a new tune nostalgically laments the 14 year old but looking 12 Jonathan hoping against hope that a 15 year old girl means something when she smiles at him. She doesn't, but he etches his teen ardor so finely, it suddenly seems the song isn't inspired by his life but James Joyce's "Araby." Of course the great love of his life isn’t a female, it’s rock and roll. And luckily he had stalwart, ever inventive Tommy Larkins along on drums. Still, Richman has been at it 35 long years, meaning his cult is pretty much a religion celebrating the missing link between Chuck Berry and “Sister Ray."

His genius is to do all he does with a gee whiz air of a kid pointing out something cool to his pals. That we get to be his pals is our luck, or if you’re into rock-as-cult, our natural superiority. [via]

Thanks George!

I'm Not One to Blog, But

Winter 2007 USA tour schedule reposted for archives:

Sun 21 Oct San Francisco CA (Bird & Beckett Books and Records)
Thu 1 Nov San Francisco CA (Palace of Fine Arts) opening for The Freewheeling Yo La Tengo
Fri/Sat 2-3 Nov San Francisco CA (Making Impressions); reception for Three North Beach Artists -more info
Fri 30 Nov Hollywood CA (Safari Sam's)
Sat 1 Dec Long Beach CA ({open})
Sun 2 Dec Costa Mesa CA (Detroit Bar) with Molly Jenson
Mon 3 Dec Solana Beach CA (Belly Up)
Wed 5 Dec Santa Barbara CA (Soho)
Thu 6 Dec San Francisco CA (Great American Music Hall) with The Rubinoos
Fri 7 Dec Santa Cruz CA (Veterans Memorial Building)
Sat 8 Dec Petaluma CA (Mystic Theatre)
Sun 9 Dec Redwood City CA (Little Fox)
Tue 11 Dec Winters CA (Palms)
Fri 14 Dec Chico CA (Chico Women's Club)

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