Photo Recap: There’s Nothing Quite Like a Jonathan Richman Show

Words by Seth Johnson
Photos by Doug Fellegy

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more unique performer than Jonathan Richman.

Best known for his time fronting legendary proto-punk band the Modern Lovers, Richman may be 66 years old, but his effervescent spirit on stage is closer to that of a child at the play park. Personally, I have always felt a strange connection to Richman and his music. We do share a love for the Velvet Underground (Richman lived on the VU manager’s couch as a youngster), but there’s always been something more to my fascination with the Massachusetts-born musician. As much as he’s a rock ‘n’ roller, he’s also a genuine, contemplative goofball, which I finally was able to experience firsthand when Richman performed at the Hi-Fi this past Tuesday.

Accompanied by longtime drummer Tommy Larkins, Richman had all ears on him from the very first note of his performance, keeping fans emotionally engaged throughout the entirety of his set. As one might expect, Richman is equal parts comedian and musician at his shows, often cracking clever quips in the context of songs. While doing this, however, he also remains vulnerable as well, sharing reflections on life, love and the world we live in.

Right off the bat, Richman made a point of having the audience be a part of his show. After first having the Hi-Fi turn on lights in the crowd, he then bugged them about turning off the TV screens in the bar, before eventually being informed that the TV screens displayed beer that was available on tap. Selections from Richman’s more recent albums surfaced in the beginning of his set, including songs like “Behold the Lilies of the Field” and “Sad Trumpets of Afternoon.” Later on, fan favorites like “I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar” and “Old World” also made their way into the show, too. No matter how familiar the song, however, Richman made it breathe a new life live, continually improvising on guitar and vocals. It was ultimately this improvising that gave Richman’s set its highest degree of charm.

To close out his performance, Richman recited a poem, once again defying the expectations of a “modern” rock show. In this very vulnerable instance, he presented himself less as an icon and more as a human. In the end, it’s this fact that would seem to make his shows so refreshingly enthralling.

All of this being said, I can surely say there’s nothing quite like a Jonathan Richman show. Go see him the next time he comes to your town. You won’t regret it.

 

 

Jonathan Richman

 

Summer Green

Photo Recap: Low at The Hi-Fi

Words by Seth Johnson
Photos by Doug Fellegy

There’s no questioning the impressive career of Duluth, Minnesota band Low. Known for their emotive, minimalist indie rock sound, Low has been around since 1993, consistently releasing high quality music over the decades. After seeing them open up for Swans back in 2013 at Deluxe, I was excited for a more intimate experience with Low at the Hi-Fi.

Rather than having an opening act on this night, Low opted to instead treat their fans to two sets of music. A few songs in, guitarist/vocalist Alan Sparhawk mentioned that the first set would predominantly consist of new material, which fans would eventually find on an upcoming release that’s currently in the works. After playing through six new tunes, Low reached back to the 2013 album The
Invisible Way and played the song “Plastic Cup.” They then closed out this first set with two older selections—“Spanish Translation” from the 2015 album Ones and Sixes and “Pissing” from 2005’s The Great Destroyer.

Time and time again throughout the night, I found my mind drifting into a deep contemplation—an effect that Low has seemingly had on others I would assume. Sparhawk and drummer/vocalist Mimi Parker showed off their melancholy harmonies time and time again throughout the night, often singing over simple yet sharp guitar work. During their second set, Low played several more songs from 2015’s Ones and Sixes, including “Landslide,” “Lies,” “No Comprende,” “The Innocents,” and “What Part of Me.” Sprinkled in between these more recent songs were some older selections for the more faithful fans. The most memorable of these was certainly the set closer, “Murderer,” from the 2007 album Drums and Guns. As Sparhawk mentioned, Low has closed with this song for years and years, with its meaning continually changing with the times. “One more thing before I go / One more thing I’ll ask you, lord,” sang Parker and Sparhawk in unison. “You may need a murderer / Someone to do your dirty work.” The song put a fittingly pensive cap on the moving night of music.

 

Low

 

Today’s MOKB on SIRIUS XMU Blog Radio Playlist : 2/27/18

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Here’s the playlist from today’s My Old Kentucky Blog Radio on SIRIUS XMU, Channel 35! Also, available anytime via OnDemand online and via the app.

Rejjie Snow ft. Anna Of The North – Charlie Brown
Few Bits – Starry Eyed
Janelle Monae – Make Me Feel
Nilufer Yanya – Thanks 4 Nothing
Niki & The Dove – Coconut Kiss
MorMor – Heaven’s Only Wishful
Starchild and the New Romantic – Lost Boys
Drew Auscherman – 1979 (Smashing Pumpkins cover)
Small Black – Breathless
Sunflower Bean – Twentytwo
Bishop Nehru – Rooftops
Kendrick Lamar – DNA
Yuno – No Going Back
Brett – Roman Candle
Launder – Annie Blue
Sitcom ft. Clairo – Green Fleece
U.S. Girls – Incidental Boogie
Major Murphy – One Day
Nation of Language – I’ve Thought About Chicago
Bülow – Not A Love Song
Personal Issue – Saint Jude
Boytoy – Mary Anne
Charlotte Day Wilson – Stone Woman
Kate Teague – Low Life
There’s Talk – In Your Hands
True Blue – Mirror Power
King Princess – 1950
Anna Of The North – Fire

Today’s MOKB on SIRIUS XMU Blog Radio Playlist : 2/20/18

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Here’s the playlist from today’s My Old Kentucky Blog Radio on SIRIUS XMU, Channel 35! Also, available anytime via OnDemand online and via the app.

Bloodboy – Sex Crime
Danny L Harle ft. Clairo – Blue Angel
Charli XCX – SuperLove
Men I Trust – Tailwhip
Stevie Nicks – Sleeping Angel
Barrie – Canyons
Beach House – Lemon Glow
Kero Kero Bonito – Only Acting
Buzzy Lee – Coolhand
Frank Ocean – Moon River
Air Waves – Morro Bay
Mint Julep – Tame
MGMT – Me and Michael
Niia – Nobody (Le Youth remix)
SOPHIE – Faceshopping
Rosalie. – Emotions
Heaven Honey – Been Anybody
U.S. Girls – Rosebud
True Blood – Tell Me Texas
Hovvdy – Float
Forth Wanderers – Not For Me
DRINKS – Real Outside
The Hidden Shelf – Defeatist
Japanese Breakfast – Boyish
Why Bonnie – Practice
Amen Dunes – Blue Rose
Personal Issue – Saint Jude
Paul Cherry – Your Letter

Watch Video for New Single “Blue Rose” from Amen Dunes

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The fifth album, Freedom, from Damon McMahon aka Amen Dunes is setting up to be potentially his best work to date. “Blue Rose” is the latest track (following “Miki Dora”) from it and comes with a video directed by Alex Goldberg. The LP is available for pre-order through Sacred Bones.

Listen to Why Bonnie’s Gorgeous New Song “Practice”

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Why Bonnie is the Austin, TX quartet started as the bedroom project of Blair Howerton now additionally comprising Mitch Lamon, Sam Houdek, and Kendall Powell. This Friday, February 16th, will see the release of their debut EP, In Water, through the well-curated Sports Day Records. “Practice” is the second reveal from the EP (find “Made of Paper” here) and can only be described as shimmering sadness with its glossy exterior hiding a darker underbelly lyrically creating something beautiful out of the heavier experiences Howerton pulls from for inspiration in crafting the four-song collection available for pre-order via their Bandcamp.

The Shacks Share Visual for “Follow Me”

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We couldn’t be more excited to see the profile of The Shacks, the Queens duo of Shannon Wise and Max Shrager, grow exponentially after their appearance in a iPhone commercial last fall with their version of the Dave Berry single “The Strange Effect” written by Ray Davies of The Kinks off their underrated debut EP from 2016. On March 30th, they will release their debut long-play, Haze, via Big Crown Records produced by label co-founder Leon Michels. “Follow Me” is the excellent lead single and we now have a visual accompaniment directed by Catherine Orchard. Pre-order the LP here.

Premiere: Get a Taste of Heaven Honey with New Single “Been Anybody”

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Photo by: Jamie Alexander
Artwork by: CJ Lamborn

After the dissolution of the extremely promising Her Again, Bloomington, IN singer-songwriter Jordan Gomes-Kuehner is ready to set out on her own under the moniker Heaven Honey. The talented multi-instrumentalist is very much a chameleon musically presenting a sonic aesthetic falls somewhere in the middle of PJ Harvey or Angel Olsen blended with a little bit of haziness of Ariel Pink.

While not her only output to date, “Been Anybody” represents her first formal single to be released this Friday, February 16th, via new label 1212 Records and serves as the first track from her debut EP due out sometime later this spring. On the song, Gomes-Kuehner’s voice flutters over worn in guitar work manifesting into a brooding soundscape displaying an underlying strength in vulnerability. As her evolution as an artist continues, we only expect her to get better and better. Listen below.