Jonathan Richman isn't just on tour. This time he's got a band.
Watch out, it's been a while. Jo Jo's fans are in for a treat, and Chicago got
a double dose as he put on his little show for them Wed. (Oct. 2) and Thurs.
(Oct. 3) at the local-legendary club called Lounge Ax, playing to an
enthusiastic 200 fans a night. Though it took him a day to warm up, by the
Thursday show Jonathan was in the groove, delivering a show that was fluid,
fun, and funky. And demonstrated his better mood by reaching deep into his
songbook for "Pablo Picasso" ("Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole") much
to the delight of all involved, including the band who broke into "we know
what's coming" grins after a quick back-of-the-stage huddle.
doesn't use a set list. He plays whatever strikes his fancy, and he plays for
as long as he wants (both Chicago shows were about 90 minutes, with short
encores). The band (organist Dan Eisenberg, drummer Tommy Larkin and bassist
Mick Augustine) just has to hang on, as he shouts out a song title or key, or
flashes some chords to Eisenberg (who used to play in Mother Hips). Over all,
the band (who all played on the new Surrender To Jonathan album) handled
it well, giving the shows a jam-session-like feel. The unpredictability of a
Jonathan performance is part of the fun. He might go an entire night without
playing songs that everyone kind of expects to hear, like "Fender Stratocaster"
(which he rocked through both nights) and "Roadrunner" (which never surfaced in
Both nights saw a solid mix...
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