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Jonathan Richman and Tommy Larkins at the ‘Sco
Musician Jonathan Richman and drummer Jonathan Larkins’ wonderfully eccentric performance at the ‘Sco unites cold pizza lovers and lesbians alike.
By Edie Carey
On October 12th, the one and only Jonathan Richman came to the Dionysus Disco right here in Oberlin, and the eclectic performance he gave was one of the best live shows I’ve ever been to. Jonathan is a founding member of the seminal proto-punk band, The Modern Lovers, and has had a lengthy solo career since they disbanded. He is 72, but that didn’t stop him from leaning into the childlike wonder that has characterized his music and on-stage personality since the 90s. These days, he performs just with a guitar, some shakers, and rattlers, with Tommy Larkin on drums. Even with sparse instrumentation, the entire audience (made up of not only Oberlin students but faculty and community members) was completely captivated, as his energy filled the room the moment he stepped on stage.
Jonathan is one of my all-time favorite artists, and I knew I was in the presence of fellow fans when 15 minutes after doors opened, there was a line out the door. He performed some of his most well-known songs such as “I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar” and “Let Her Go Into the Darkness”, but unlike the last time I saw him, a year ago in Washington, DC, he included songs from his Modern Lovers era, including my personal favorite, “Pablo Picasso”.
As per usual, Jonathan spent a good amount of time talking to the audience, and he was ready for this particular crowd; before performing his classic song about Johannes Vermeer, he exclaimed, “I hear this place has a good art department!” and then educated us on some art history about the painter. He closed out the show with a song about cold pizza that left everyone laughing, performing it a second time as an encore after the audience lured him back out with a chant of “Jonathan! Jonathan! Jonathan!”
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