Music » Critics' Picks

Jonathan Richman

Thursday, June 23; Blueberry Hill's Duck Room (6504 Delmar Boulevard, University City)


Jonathan. That's what you call him. Nobody says his full name, unless they're talking about what he did a long, long time ago. OK, Jonathan Richman started out in Boston loving the Velvet Underground back when it was very, very rare to find anybody who even knew who the Velvet Underground was -- let alone who loved it. Jonathan gathered some friends -- two of whom later went on to join the Cars and Talking Heads -- and formed the Modern Lovers, the first of a zillion VU-inspired rock & roll bands. He wrote songs about driving with the radio on, about Pablo Picasso's ability to get girls without being called an asshole, about the Astral Plane and the Modern World.

And then Jonathan Richman broke up that band and formed a new one, a quieter version of the Modern Lovers, with charming songs about marchin' Martians and abominable snowmen in the marketplace. Eventually that band broke up, too, and Jonathan became more and more whimsical, extolling the delights of cruddy little chewing gum wrappers and Vincent Van Gogh, who loved color and let it show.

Nowadays Jonathan is quieter still, inspiring awe-filled reverence among his fans, who sit hushed in front of stages, seeking the meaning of his love for Latin music and his desire to dance. He's come so far from the Velvet Underground inspiration as to have created its anti-matter. This is the sound of virtual silence, and the sound of love for whatever crosses Jonathan's path.

Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 314-727-4444 for more information.

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