Jonathan Richman at the Music Hall of Williamsburg
Jonathan Richman is still in love with the world—the old world, the modern world, the USA, whenever the radio’s on, and even frigid New York City in the dead of February. When he visited Brooklyn for a three-night stint over Valentine’s Day weekend, the former Modern Lover brought along his trademark wide-eyed sincerity and l-u-v of dancing, Vermeer, and springtime in New York (a coupla months early).
Accompanied by his longtime drummer Tommy Larkins, an acoustic guitar, and sleigh bells, Richman performed a set of old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll tunes for a similarly wide-eyed, giddy audience at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. He also pulled out some killer dance moves—knee slides, hip shakes, and fan kicks, to name a few—drawing cheers and belly laughs and hoots of “Jonathan!” from the crowd.
The set included some post-Lovers classics, such as “I Was Dancing at the Lesbian Bar” (complete with extended dance breakdown), and several tracks off his 2008 release Because Her Beauty Is Raw and Wild—“No One Was Like Vermeer,” “When We Refuse to Suffer,” and the title song about a woman with wild curly hair (ahem. ME.). Richman also performed a few songs off his untitled upcoming album: “You Can Have a Cell Phone That’s OK But Not Me” (sample lyric: When I’m on the beach, I’m on the beach, no you can’t call me there) and “Affected Accent,” a jab at his days as a pretentious teenager in suburban Massachusetts.
Richman’s total lack of pretension and forever-cheerful good-time vibes are part of what makes him so beloved among music fans, whether they’re lifelong devotees or newcomers to his vast back catalog. For the guy who wrote what some consider the first punk-rock song ever—1970’s “Roadrunner,” a love song to a.m. radio—there’s still a whole lot of cool stuff in this world to love and obsess over, from little insects to ice cream to pretty girls.
For more on Jonathan and to buy his records, visit Vapor Records.