I’ve seen Jonathan Richman with Tommy Larkins over sixty times, most of which has been accumulated from going to his bi-yearly 4-night stints at the Makeout Room. This is the best venue to see him, hands down. It’s intimate, low-lighted, and he turns off the fan so everyone gets all sweaty and excited like on those rare SF summer nights.
Who’s Jonathan Richman? In a nutshell, he started the seminal 70’s punky band the Modern Lovers, later went solo, and hired the amazing Tommy Larkins on drums. You’ll probably remember the guitarist and drummer from that fart of a movie, “There’s Something About Mary.” That was Jonathan and Tommy.
Going to a Jonathan Richman show is like what you wish a Litquake event would be. He sings of warm summer nights, youthful love, walking around in melancholy, sad heartbreaks. The all-encompassing love he sings about is the kind that, in real life, evaporates over time and age, but while you watch and listen to him, you daydream of this innocence you once had and what it would be like to have that again. So much so that you immediately fall in love and want to take him home and feed him a big dinner, hold him to your breast and put him to sleep – but at the same time, you want him to admire your beauty and caress your shoulder and sing to you in bed at 5 in the morning.
Having seen him so many times, I know the different types of fans: recents, word-of-mouth, diehards, a couple timers who are proud that they’ve seen him more than twice, and the worst: jerks who shout for Modern Lovers songs (sorry douchebags, he’ll just get annoyed and will never play them, so don’t even try). The crowd at the Makeout Room differs every night, and Jonathan will capture the audience’s attention and will know exactly what the crowd wants.
So here’s some words of advice if you’re having trouble with which day you’ll go. If you are an older fan who enjoys the slower songs and likes to sit down during shows, go today. If you’re a die hard fan like me and like the mix of newly hashed-out songs, the slow, and the upbeat, go on Monday. If you’ve seen him 5 or more times, go on Tuesday. If you’ve never seen him, or maybe once or twice, or your favorite song is “I Was Dancing In a Lesbian Bar“, go on Wednesday.
Or you could be like me and see him and Tommy every night.