Posted in music | pictures on June 18, 2009

by Andrew Frisicano

Jonathan Richman

Jonathan Richman and Vic Chesnutt played Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday, June 17th. It was the second night of their two-show run (those stops are part of a nearly month-long tour). Signs posted throughout the venue warned that it'd be a hot night -- the night before Richman had requested the Bowery's air conditioner to be turned off mid-set for being too noisy.

Richman took the stage with drummer Tommy (Larkins), who kept the beat throughout with mallets and brushes. The accompaniment came in handy when Richman either sidled out in front of the microphones to address the crowd (the guitar was still audible upfront, but wasn't plugged in) or abandoned the axe entirely to dance alone on stage.

New song "My Affected Accent" was hilarious and gave the singer a chance to joke about youthful pretensions (and whip out a semi-faux Boston accent). Nearly all the tunes, including those off his newest record, 2008's Because Her Beauty Is Raw and Wild, were delivered on a totally un-ironic gut level. Some artists claim that their personal life doesn't inform their work (Woody Allen, for one). With Jonathan Richman, the opposite seems to be true. And it's similarly refreshing that his latter-day obsessions are a lot like his older ones -- albeit with more directness.

Both Modern Lovers song "Girl Friend" and Because Her Beauty track "No One Was Like Vermeer" could have been written on the same notebook. Both reference one of Richman's favorite topics -- art history -- and what one could only imagine is a favorite place, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

A mid-set discussion of the air conditioning situation provided a lighthearted segue into "When We Refuse to Suffer" (he also used that opportunity to ask for the AC to be turned back on). Through songs like "I Was Dancing in a Lesbian Bar," "Take Me to the Plaza," and "Let Her Go Into the Darkness," the Bowery was near silent in attention, minus some hand claps and joyful cheers. Jonathan left after set closer "My Baby Love Love Loves Me", but returned for another verse, then came back to play songs that included "Es Como El Pan" and "Springtime In New York." That last one especially harped on Richman's painterly drive to reframe everyday life as artistic and beautiful.

I missed Vic Chesnutt, but did see him talking to fans after the show. Those that did see his set said it was great. You can check out Vic as one of several guest singers on the new David Lynch/Danger Mouse/Sparklehorse (Mark Linkous) collaboration Dark Night of the Soul. That album, because of legal complications, is for sale only as a photo book and a blank CD-R. The music itself is streaming in full on NPR.

Does anyone have the setlists? More pictures of the headliner below...

Jonathan Richman

Jonathan Richman

Jonathan Richman

Jonathan Richman

Jonathan Richman

Jonathan Richman

Jonathan Richman

Jonathan Richman

Jonathan Richman

Jonathan Richman

Jonathan Richman

Jonathan Richman

Jonathan Richman

Jonathan Richman

Jonathan Richman

Jonathan Richman

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Comments (16)

unrelated --- PS1 schedule is up. and it looks weak.

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 2:40 PM

No pictures of Vic?!?

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 2:43 PM

First night setlist. Right order but could use help with some titles

My Baby Love Love Loves Me
Vermeer
When We Refuse To Suffer
You Can Have A Cellphone
Because Her Beauty Is Raw And Wild
Let Her Go Into The Darkness
My Affected Accent
He Gave Us The Wine To Taste
I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar
Celestial
?French Song
?Hebrew Song
Here It Is
Cosi Veloce
Time Has Been Going By So Fast
Springtime In New York
As My Mother Lay Lying

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 2:49 PM

Last paragraph, " I missed Vic Chesnutt."

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 2:51 PM

There was no hebrew song

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 2:59 PM

correction: there was no hebrew song last night. But he did open with Old World

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 3:10 PM

I think I saw this exact same Jonathan show at the Knitting Factory in fall '01. Shame he hasn't mixed things up over the decade...

Posted by Dfactor | June 18, 2009 3:42 PM

yeah diss jonathan richman, real classy

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 5:18 PM

Does anyone have Chestnutt's setlist for second night? The last song he played was killer & I can't find it. Something like "My New Life" was the title.

Second night was great, the acts compliment one another in a cool was as well.

Posted by Solo500 | June 18, 2009 6:29 PM

this guy seems pretty good. anyone catch leo kottke at city wintery? he has much more skills then anyone ive seen on this blog in a while, but what are skills anyway when you have pr? big business is amazing though. when it all boils down, hipsters kick wall street bankers asses. no greed. ☮

Posted by nyc hipster resistor ☮ | June 18, 2009 8:57 PM

^^^^wtf?

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 9:26 PM

"I think I saw this exact same Jonathan show at the Knitting Factory in fall '01. Shame he hasn't mixed things up over the decade..."

Except that at least half the songs on this setlist were written during the last five years....

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2009 12:59 AM

you're right. only one or two are old - everything else is new. and brilliantly jonathan.

Posted by Anonymous | June 23, 2009 5:11 PM

Second night songs included (not in correct order, title help requested):
Old World
Because Her Beauty Was Raw and Wild
Girlfren
Egyptian Reggae
My Affected Accent
Dancing in the Lesbian Bar
No One Was Like Vermeer
When We Refuse to Suffer
In Che Mondo Viviamo
Take Me to the Plaza
Let Her Go into the Darkness
Her Mystery Not of High Heels and Eyeshadow
This Romance Will Be Different for Me
My Baby Love Love Loves Me
Es Como El Pan
French song (Le Printemps?)
Not So much to love as to be loved

Posted by Anonymous | June 23, 2009 8:31 PM

Andrew, great post and images are really cool.


Pinky
Ballroom Dance Teacher

Posted by Ballroom Dance | July 4, 2009 10:27 AM

Jonathan Rich-MEH

Posted by Anonymous | February 14, 2010 5:51 PM

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