Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Feb 13th 2010 11:00AM by Kenneth Partridge
"I love springtime in New York," Richman sang early in his set, earning whoops from his zipped-up followers. As the Boston-born singer-songwriter ran through 'Springtime in New York,' he romanticized both the gleaming skin and rotten core of the Big Apple, referencing happy lovers in Tompkins Square Park and angry, evicted ones on First Avenue.
Such is the nature of Richman's worldview, a sort of optimistic realism best exemplified on 'When We Refuse to Suffer,' which came later in the show. In that song, the former Modern Lovers frontman rejects air conditioning, anti-depressants and other quick fixes, insisting, "If we think we can cheat sorrow -- well, we can't."
It's not that he's a Tom Cruise-style anti-pill crusader -- in fact, in a playful aside, Richman said psychiatric drugs are fine for those who genuinely need them. He simply believes in taking the good with the bad and finding the beauty in each.
Friday night, Richman certainly came across like a guy who loves life. As he sang songs about everything from cell phones (he won't buy one, obviously) to the 17th century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer, he would sometimes put down his acoustic guitar and bust Latin dance moves, leaving drummer Tommy Larkins to keep things moving.
Many of Richman's songs are built on Latin and Caribbean rhythms and chord progressions, and on such tunes as 'I Was Dancing at the Lesbian Bar,' he sang and danced like New England's answer to Ricky Ricardo. It's a curious persona, given that Richman grew up idolizing the Velvet Underground, but he's found a way to synthesize the droll lyricism of Lou Reed with the showman-like impulses that radiate from his core.
All the while, he flashes an inscrutable, disarming grin.
Jonathan Richman on AOL Music