Singer-songwriter Jonathan Richman took up the guitar at the age of 15 and was playing in public just a year later. He relocated from Boston to New York City in 1969, but his music didn’t get a lot of love, so he headed back north and formed the influential protopunk band the Modern Lovers. Wanting a quieter sound, Richman eventually turned the Modern Lovers into an acoustic group, most notable for their doo-wop sound and the funny lyrics that would remain a hallmark of his later solo work. Richman earned the most attention his career would get thanks to the Farrelly brothers featuring him and his music as a comedic Greek chorus in There’s Something About Mary. And although that flick came out nearly 20 years ago, punk-rock OG turned modern-day troubadour Richman (above, performing “When We Refuse to Suffer” and “That Summer Feeling”) remains as busy as ever. He’s currently touring with drummer Tommy Larkins, and together they play The Bowery Ballroom on Sunday and Monday.
Tag Archives: Modern Lovers
Mac DeMarco – The Bowery Ballroom – August 17, 2015
The Mac DeMarco phenomenon is peaking. Perhaps a strong indication of his far-reaching mass appeal is his three consecutive sold-out New York City dates this week to begin his new tour, kicking off last night at The Bowery Ballroom. DeMarco’s continuously widening appeal is thanks to the combination of the accessible substance of his music along with the quirky affability of the personality behind it. In harmonious proportion, there is his feel-good songwriting—which recalls and revitalizes the groovy sound and soulful balladry of ’70s bands like Steely Dan and the Modern Lovers—and the oddly beguiling character whose earnest eccentricity makes him curiously relatable. Add to this the gentle, playful voice you love to sing along with and what seems to be an innately effortless musicianship, and you have an artist currently setting his own trend, inviting happy followers to join.
Although DeMarco was a little subdued by an unfortunately timed cold last night, his disarming charm was on display, and it was overwhelmingly clear that everyone in the room was very happy to be there. A little vocal and guitar warm-up to engage the crowd led to the opening song on his just released album, Another One, “The Way You’d Love Her.” DeMarco has a knack for touching on what makes you listen to music in the first place: to feel giddy and open. His verses hook you with steady, easy rhythm and delightful instrumentation and then give way to choruses that are like sunbaths, walking outside for the first time on a glorious day. Eliciting sing-alongs throughout, DeMarco warmed the room with irresistibly catchy hits, like “Salad Days” and “Ode to Viceroy,” before deftly shifting into breezier gems, like “Another One.”
Distinctly good vibes permeated the room, and the set list, drawing from all of his albums, included surprising and exhilarating covers, which included an interlude of Coldplay’s “Yellow” and a raucous encore of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” setting off the room into a moshing frenzy. It was like one big musical hangout session. Perhaps some of DeMarco’s appeal is due to the reassuring vibe he puts out to the average dude, who sees that someone is living a life of his own and making simple, good music without pretension or artifice. DeMarco is identifiable to all sorts, and that’s why people adore him. —Charles Steinberg
Tags: Another One, Bearsville Theater, Bowery Ballroom, Capitol Theatre, Charles Steinberg, Coldplay, Mac DeMarco, Metallica, Modern Lovers, Photos, Pip Cowley, Review, Steely Dan
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