In the first bar, things were controlled / But in this bar, things were rock-n-roll

Having been to as many shows as I have, it’s becoming a little harder to surprise me…sure, there aremany things that artists can do to spice up a set(and my guess is that the new stage show from of Montreal features them all), but many of the smaller shows Igo to can become predictable, though nonetheless enjoyable…still, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from seeing Jonathan Richman this past Sunday night…

If I were to stop seeing shows at the First Unitarian Church, Jonathan‘s show would have been the perfect close, because it closely resembled the first show I saw at the Church: Calvin Johnson of twee-folks Beat Happening…like Johnson, Richman doesn’t have the biggest fanbase, but those who know his music positively love it…also, both performers had extremely stripped-down stage setups, with just acoustic guitar and drums (Richman even had his own little mixing console onstage and kept adjusting the sound during drum breaks)…the crowd was also similar (though the Calvin Johnson show was in the much smaller side chapel) in that it was made up of just about everyone: indie kids, punk kids, and even families where the parents listened to The Modern Lovers when they first came about…with the unusual crowd and the bare-bones instrumentation,Jonathan led a part-dance party, part-campfire sing-along through song after song…

Many of his songs were from his new album, Because Her Beauty Is Raw And Wild, which came out in April…”NoOne Was Like Vermeer”, “Es Como El Pan” and the title track were some of the standouts from the new material, and he closed the evening with the mournful “As My Mother Lay Lying”, which also closes out the new disc…many of his older songs served to bridge the gaps between the unfamiliar (though familiar-sounding) new material, and Jonathan busted out “That Summer Feeling”, “I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar” and Modern Lovers classic “Pablo Picasso”…so much of Jonathan‘s song are half-spoken that each tune ran into the next, with the banter blending in with the lyrics…his songwriting has been described as “child-like”, and I understand that that’s not an insult; he really is like a big kid…

Pablo Picasso never got called 'asshole'

If you’re not familiar with Jonathan‘s music beyond “Roadrunner”, check out his self-titled solo debut and I, Jonathan, his finest solo work, in my opinion…and, as always, there are more pictures of Jonathan (and many other fine artistes) here

Coming soon: the return of Los Straitjackets and the last stand of Laika &The Cosmonauts (and yes, that’s one show!)


Lyric of the Time:
My love’s in Amerikay
They’re calling out the rosary
Spanish wine from far away
I’m a free born man of the USA


~ by E. on October 16, 2008.

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