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I'm cruising around the internet looking for some
information about Jonathan Richman. There are basically two
responses when questioned about Jonathan Richman: One is,
"Jonathan Richman - he's great," while the other is
"Jonathan who?" I was in the "Jonathan who?"
category, at least for the time being because the night's travels
would take me to the legendary Lounge Ax in Chicago to see none
other than Jonathan who, I mean Richman.
A Concert Review
Now, I've never been to Lounge Ax before, and the day after the
show one of our local monthly's had a brief snippet that basically
says something like "if your short go early to get close to the
stage." Guess what, I'm short. And guess what again, I was
late. And guess what a third time, I couldn't see shit.
Now, also in my perusing around the internet I found some
comments from some fans which basically said a Jonathan Richman show
is funny, entertaining, and everyone who has ever gone to one
switches sides from the "Jonathan who?" camp to the
"Jonathan Richman - he's great" camp. Me, I guess now I'm
stuck in my own little camp because that night I found out who
Jonathan Richman was, but couldn't switch my opinion to he's great.
But I think it was my own fault so don't count the Jonathan-man out.
We'll get to me blaming myself during this review, what about the
I think my first problem was that I was one of the few fans who
had listened to his new CD, "Surrender to Jonathan." Good
for me, but a Jonathan Richman show was as much as crowd
participation as it is him up there singing. Me being stuck in the
back and too short, I knew the songs but the crowd didn't. Hence,
not much on the crowd participation part and hence, Jonathan, who is
seems like the kind of performer to feed off a crowd, had no one to
feed off of except me and he didn't even know I was alive. The crowd
listened, kinda seemed to like what they heard, but just couldn't
get into the music yet. His music is kinda surf-guitarish, kinda
hawaiian-esque, kinda folksy, and the lyrics are kinda funny if you
listen. I guess it took a while for this show to develop, so me, I
just couldn't get into the spirit. Hmmmm. Where am I going with
Well, being stuck in the back I also couldn't feed off of the
crowd when they finally got into the show. That and the sound sucked
in the fact that the rear speakers only had instruments coming out
of them which made trying to listen to his comical lyrics nearly
impossibly for me. Dammit, I wanted to have a good time and just
couldn't. But whether I did doesn't matter because the crowd in
front of me had a good time, well at least a little bit in front of
me because those around me seemed as frustrated as I was.
I guess this is what I can tell you about Jonathan Richman and
his show. Go early and get a good spot near the stage - everybody up
front, once he got past his new material, was singing, dancing, and
laughing and just seeming to have a good ol' time. If you don't get
there early, bring some stilts so you can see - it seemed like his
dancing and antics were just as fun a part of the show as his
singing. Also, get his new CD so you know the lyrics to his new
material - then you can sing with him instead of listen. And, well,
that's about it. His music is fun and although I haven't been
converted to the "Jonathan Richman - he's great" camp yet,
next time I'll know the rules to follow.
As for the rating, me, I didn't have a good time, but who cares
what kind of time I had. The crowd in front of me seemed to have a
blast and that's what counts and I'm sure there were some converts
to the "he's great" camp in there too. It's TWO "THEY
LIKED HIM" THUMBS UP because he didn't let his fans down.
That's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right. L8R!!!