Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Jonathan Richman: Funny and Lyrical

Last night I had the pleasure to see Jonathan Richman (guitarist, singer and songwriter) and Tommy (his drummer) live at the Music Hall in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

You might recognize these guys from the movie "There's Something About Mary" as the singing duo that hangs out in trees, in front of buildings and all sorts of odd locations whenever something odd happens throughout the film.

It has probably been 10 years (give or take) since I last saw that movie, but Jonathan has lost none of his vigor or talent.

There were a number of songs dedicated to artists, like Vermeer, Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso (my favorite). He was also adept at singing songs in multiple languages (Spanish, Hebrew, Italian and English). It was pretty awesome all the way around.

Its not just his virtuosity that rocks, its his storytelling capability. Jonathan crafts the oddest descriptions of events to make us (the audience) understand where he is coming from.

Springtime in New York has lyrics like "3 feet of snow on the sidewalk" and "the smell of sewage in the gutter along the bowery". He rhymes about prostitutes in Tijuana in another song (sung in Spanish) "Get him another drink. His eyes stare towards the Exit sign".

Dancing in a Lesbian Bar. Awesome.