Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Jonathan!

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Last minute, a friend dragged me out to see Jonathan Richman at The Smell. I arrived in a very bad mood. I was expecting nothing short of a miracle that he would not disappoint me in the form of a wash-up performing at half-mast. Well into his third song of the set, I was turned into a monkey's uncle. Richman, easily past age 50, was like the doe-eyed, soulful puppy I knew from his 80s album covers, his brow perpetually furrowed in amorous bliss. He worked the small crowd like a shaman. Kittens and balloons poured out of his guitar. He's a shining beacon of men-children, forever loving the smell of piss in an alleyway as much as the scent of a pretty girl. You can't have one without the other he seemed to say. He was a master showman, stopping to interject jokes and add-ons, only to quickly tip his guitar diagonally, away and up from his body, plucking a solo like he was some kind of Don Juan flamenco player (he plays his guitar strapless). He would occasionally twirl his guitar in his hand and dance what resembled the 'whatootsi' as his drummer batted away. We ate caramel kisses out of his hand and begged for more. He ended his set with a song about Keith Richards, a love letter to a hero, and he left the stage as one too. My mood was improved by 58%. Thanks, Jonathan.

Well now, see the desert
I sit all alone in the desert
And no girl understands me
But I can see through this bleakness and grey and sadness
And well I won't die now
Someday I'll be dignified and old
I say, you, don't die now
Someday we'll be dignified and old together