I love love love Jonathan Richman so much, its hard to put it into words. Since first seeing him at Glastonbury in 85 with McD, we got to see him 6 or 7 times over the next 3 years. At Glasto he played electric guitar with a bass and drums. In 86 he didnt play guitar at all, just sax and had Todd and Andy on guitars the percussion was the band and stamping and clapping (I loved those gigs). Then in 88 he toured with just a drummer (Johnny Avila) and after that just on his own. I remember seeing him in London one time when he said that Gail (his wife) was coming over to join him on tour. We saw him a week or so later and I shouted Wheres Gail? and she hadnt come and the set went down hill into melancholia. The shows on his own were always prone to do that. The CDs started having less of the stuff I liked and after one that had Spanish versions of his songs, he just fell off my radar.
So when a pal emailed earlier this year to say he was playing at the Brudenell (Thanks Justine!) I got Lee and I tickets and phoned McD who said Hes playing Manchester the night before youve got to come over it wont be the same without you so what was I going to do The new CD was obtained which hasnt left the kitchen player since. You tube was trawled for his latest performances..anticipation was rising..after 21 years.we were going to see Jojo again!
The Deaf Institute is a wonderful place for a gig worth a visit to see the wallpaper alone. As we got to the entrance to the bar, after the first flight of stairs, we were debating whether to have a jar or go up the next flight to where the gig was, when Jojo himself walks up the stairs I instinctively patted him on the back Hiya Jonathan! Thanks for coming and Mike introduced himself Hey Mike, its been a long time!. Just then someone in a wheelchair came out of the bar wanting to get past us and up to the gig.so Jojo helps carry him up the stairs. The guys a saint and a star!
At the top of the stairs we bump into Mike Colley who I havent seen for over 12 years and reminiscences start of when we saw Jojo at the Mean Fiddler in the 80s. Ill always be grateful to him for introducing me to the first Violent Femmes LP.
Jonathan played a great set of mainly new (to me) songs that had me wondering why on earth Id not seen him for 20 years hes back on form, as his new CD will testify.
His drummer Tommy Larkin kept the show moving along with his versatile drumming that included sometimes using his hands. My favourite was You can have a cell phone, not me! which included a monologue about but what if youre late for a gig? Well, then Im late.
After a couple of encores Tommy left but Jonathan was persuaded to do just one more and called for his drummer to come back..which took a while.hed changed clothes and was wearing a scarfe! They did Its better to love than to be loved and when Jojo said thats all, Tommy mouthed Really?! and off they went.
Everyone came out smiling. McD bumped into a pal whod been given a ticket cos his mate couldnt go and hadnt known what to expect I thought hed be good but I wasnt expecting him to be THAT good!
Bob the Chiropodist
More pics here