Something Old, Something New

Jonathan Richman Plays the Merc, Tall Tales Headlines at Muddy Waters

Surfrider Foundation hosts Santa Barbara surf rock legends the Tridents at SOhO.
Courtesy Photo

MODERN CLASSIC: Ranking first in this week’s too-good-to-be-true gig list is Jonathan Richman’s Monday night stop at Goleta’s Mercury Lounge. But before I start praising Club Mercy for their none-so-small concert coup, I think a short history lesson is in order. For the unacquainted, Mr. Richman is best known as the man behind the Modern Lovers, who wrote and recorded from 1970 to 1974, and have since gone on to become some of the most well recognized pioneers of the New Wave, punk, and protopunk movements. (Richman’s fellow ‘Lovers, Jerry Harrison and David Robinson, went on to play for the Talking Heads and the Cars, respectively.) Though the original band only existed for four short years — and released one eponymous album — Richman’s influence can easily be heard in the lo-fi tones, everyday lyrical content, and speak-sing styles of those that followed. He’s also carved a cult following all his own, thanks to a healthy working friendship with the Farrelly Brothers, who’ve featured Richman in three of their films (most notably 1998’s There’s Something About Mary).

Who’s-who’s aside, Richman’s rich, low voice and wide-eyed, stream of consciousness lyricism continues to endear him to listeners around the world. Most recently, Richman’s been hard at work, releasing three albums since the start of 2008 that include everything from Spanish language guitar numbers to Leonard Cohen covers. At 59, this is one troubadour who (luck for us) is not slowing down anytime soon, and still just as talented, captivating, and gosh darn endearing as he was at the height of the Lovers’ heyday.

Jonathan Richman plays the Mercury Lounge (5871 Hollister Ave.) this Monday, December 6 at 8 p.m. Call 967-0907 or visit for tickets.

STAND TALL: Also on the list is tonight’s killer collection of talent at Muddy Waters Café (508 E. Haley St.). Starting at 8 p.m., the all-ages venue plays host to Goleta twee pop duoWatercolor Paintings, folk rocker and Ventura native Deepak Alypse, recently added personal favorites Tall Tales & the Silver Lining, and San Fran’s Rad Cloud.

Though they label themselves as “New Wave,” Rad Cloud’s sound is more Pet Sounds than it is Violator — not that I’m complaining. With a well constructed arsenal of washed out, surfy guitars, and part-punk, part-shoegaze deliveries, we get songs that are both quietly resonating and none-too-serious. The result is an intentionally disjointed mix of under produced throwback lovin’. Get ready to Twist!

For tickets and information, call or visit

PARTY TIME: And if you’re looking to start your holiday season off right, I recommend a trip down to SOhO this Friday, where the Santa Barbara chapter of the Surfrider Foundation will be hosting their 2nd Annual Preserve Gaviota Holiday Party & Fundraiser.

In addition to a feel-good, libation-filled celebration for a cause, the evening will also offer an extra special musical performance by S.B. surf rock legends The Tridents, who’ll be celebrating their 50th anniversary as part of the event. Since forming at UCSB in 1960, the foursome has helped to truly pave the way for their surf rock successors. And as “bona fide first wavers,” they can seriously shred the instrumental classics. (Think “Walk Don’t Run” and “Rawhide.”) Want to see for yourself? The show starts this Friday, December 3 at 8 p.m. at SOhO (1221 State St.). Call 962-7776 or visit for tickets.


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