the good, the bad, the sheer

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I saw Jonathan Richman, at le Music Hall of Williamsburg


And what a splendid evening it was!

I believe that the amount of whiskey which I imbibed makes my reviewing skills slightly illegitimate, but yowzah..... I have to say that this guy HAS IT. keeping a crowd of hipsters blended with annoyingly dedicated superfans focused while you, your guitar, and your drummer completely run the show is no small feat. At times the only sounds audible were Richman's crooning, and his feet tapping away to an awkward dance move - no chattering, no shifting, no cell phones (thank gawd, especially after Richman's sang a disparaging number about mobile devices and their effect on social life).

Everyone adores seeing him live, and now I understand why - Richman is blissfully entertaining. His vocals seem as though from a different era, with their velvet-loungey-nasally texture. Plus he dances around on stage like your drunken uncle might dance in zero gravity with a peacock, speaks multiple languages, and can seamlessly insert relevant references into his songs (like the way he did in "Springtime in NY," when he started warbling about the smell of old warehouses in the East Village and Williamsburg being knocked down for gentro-purposes).

One minute hysterical, and the next bittersweet, at times it felt much more like performance art then a musical performance per se. It's been a long time since I've smiled so much at a concert, perhaps the whiskey elevated my mood, but from what I could tell everybody felt the same way.

1 comment:

conureman said...

Everybody loves Jonathan, he's like a deep pool of truth and beauty. It's hard to compare him to any other artist I can think of, and he's FUN! I had his "Home of the Hits" and "Bezerkley" albums back in the '70s. I roadied for the Rubinoos and Psycotic Pineapple a bit in the '80s, and was introduced to him once at a Keystone, Berkeley show. It is wonderful that he's still out bringing people together these days, and I try to see him a few times a year whenever possible.