Thursday, June 18

Jonathan at the Bowery, etc.

Mike Grimes of the Earfarm wrote about his experience seeing Jonathan at the Bowery Ballroom, which was by all accounts excellent:

Jonathan Richman is a simple guy. Likes: creating atmosphere, freshly baked bread, Jan Vermeer, lesbian bars. Dislikes: air conditioning, the internet*, predictability. On Wednesday night, the second of his pair of shows at Bowery Ballroom, Richman and stoic wingman/drummer Tommy Larkins created their own atmosphere - a sweltering and visceral sauna - by shutting off the venue’s A/C and holding forth for a spontaneous and mesmerizing hour and a half of tri-lingual ruminations on love, life, the modern world, and yes, fresh bread, Vermeer, and lesbian bars.

In this humid haze, several songs from last year’s overlooked Because Her Beauty Is Raw and Wild held their own surprisingly well alongside such iconic and cherished staples of his catalog as “I Was Dancing At The Lesbian Bar” and “Girlfriend”. Indeed, newer selections including Because Her Beauty’s poignant title track, show opener “Old World” (not to be confused with the Modern Lovers version), “No One Was Like Vermeer”, and “Como El Pan” (with simultaneous Spanish to English translation as he sung) only reinforced Richman’s continued vitality and relevance.

With a pedigree and background such as his, he could simply show up every night and sleepwalk through the same set amidst the comfort of air-conditioned sterile stages and security of routine…..but where’s the fun in that? As he put it during one of his many (I think I counted four) semi-encores with which he and Larkin would start to leave the stage and then come spinning back a moment later, he’d rather fail spectacularly in a sweaty nosediving fuselage than have things get stale. Wednesday was no failure; with that commanding, indelible, once-in-a-lifetime voice of his and surprisingly nimble classical and flamenco flavored guitar playing, the hot and bothered faithful crammed together in Bowery’s sticky belly had no choice but to surrender to Jonathan.

You can read it here.

There is also a story from Hamilton Morris of Vice Magazine, who had dinner with Jonathan in early 2002, and Jonathan acts a little crazer. :/

Pictures are from Earfarm's flickr, of the Bowery Ballroom show.