Treasured pop eccentric Jonathan Richman long has had the aura of an outsider savant, tapping a kind of naively perceptive genius to celebrate life's essential qualities, including truth, beauty, love, art — and rock 'n' roll, particularly early in his career as leader of the proto-punk, Velvet Underground-inspired Modern Lovers. Over four decades, Richman has become more acoustic and folk-pop oriented, while relying on sparer arrangements often featuring only his own acoustic guitar and drummer Tommy Larkins. Meanwhile, his lyrical concerns have evolved from simple, childlike delights ("I'm a Little Airplane") to more nuanced pleasures ("That Summer Feeling") and in recent years to a more philosophical and sometimes strikingly poetic approach. Intact are Richman's remarkable senses of wonder and whimsy. His last album, 2010's O Moon, Queen of Night on Earth, includes ruminations on love and existence, along with classically quirky Richman charmers like "These Bodies That Came to Cavort." Then, following one of Richman's occasional foreign language forays (French, in this case), there's the wacky "My Affected Accent," in which he apologizes decades after the fact for conjuring a fake accent in high school, casually dropping the appallingly hilarious line, "I should have been bullied more than I was." Some things never change, thankfully including Jonathan Richman. The Prizefighters, a local ska band, will open. (Photo by Rory Earnshaw)
Sun., June 3, 7 p.m., 2012
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