Jonathan Richman Show Preview: December 4 at the Crescent Ballroom

Categories: Show Preview

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Rory Earnshaw
Jonathan Richman is back in town.
What follows is nothing but an unabashed love note to Jonathan Richman. He first captured my heart when I saw the movie Repo Man -- Jonathan wasn't in Repo Man, but there is a cover of his song "Pablo Picasso" on the soundtrack.

The lyrics of this particular track, like the vast majority of Richman's work, are not only clever and somewhat whimsical, but they also ooze some biting sarcasm that many of us in this weary world clearly adore.

The Massachusetts native founded the Modern Lovers in 1970 with Jerry Harrison (later of the Talking Heads) and David Robinson (who would join the Cars), and he hasn't stopped writing, recording, and touring since. Richman and his original bandmates were definitely influenced by the two- and three-chord song progressions of the Velvet Underground.

In fact, the first Modern Lovers recordings (recorded in 1972, but not released until 1976) were produced by John Cale, the Welsh multi-instrumentalist who was a founding member of the Velvets.

Jonathan Richman's live shows are an absolute treat. From the first time I saw him -- which was many moons ago at the Mason Jar -- till the last time, which was early last summer at the Crescent Ballroom (where he is scheduled to play Wednesday at 8 p.m.), I have never been even remotely disappointed.

Back in the day, it was almost like going to a secret meeting of a club with only a select few members; I would see the same folks at each "Jonathan" show.


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