Jonathan Richman

MODERN LOVE: If Jonathan Richman’s following is cultish, prepare to be brainwashed. This Friday, August 23, the singer/songwriter and former Modern Lovers frontman heads to town for an intimate acoustic performance at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club. Like many, my familiarity with Richman stretched to include one Modern Lovers album and a tertiary enjoyment of There’s Something About Mary. (Richman and drummer Tommy Larkins were the film’s adorably unplugged Greek chorus.)

But then I saw him live.

It was a fated night in 2010, and I was drowning in a sea of Richman devotees, all of whom were huddled up, craning their necks and crowding the “stage” at Goleta’s teeny, tiny Mercury Lounge. In the low light of the bar, armed with his acoustic and Larkins on the kit, Richman told some jokes, spoke some Spanish, and even managed to procure one lady’s bra. He also poured his heart out, speak-singing song after song with the curious, awestruck, and wide-eyed authenticity of someone who was performing each verse for the first time. No, he didn’t play a single Modern Lovers tune. And yes, it was really that good.

So now, three years later, Richman (finally) returns. He doesn’t have a new record out, and he’s not hawking any new project, but he’s guaranteed to play some songs you’ve forgotten about — the man’s got 14 albums, after all. More importantly, though, he’s sure to restore your faith in show-going and, undoubtedly, win over some new fans in the process.

Jonathan Richman plays SOhO Restaurant & Music Club on Friday, August 23, at 7 p.m. Call (805) 962-7776 or visit for tickets and info.

PREPARING FOR BATTLE: That’s right, music makers: Time is almost up in our call for submissions for the 2013 Downtown Sound Battle of the Bands. If you’re an artist or in a band interested in getting involved in our annual contest, head on over to and sign up. This year, we’ll be hand-selecting five acts to move on to the live round, slated to take place onstage at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club on Friday, October 4. We’ll also be turning the competition over to you, our readers, who will vote online to determine one “audience choice” band that will compete live (alongside our five selects) for the chance at taking home the Downtown Sound crown. Up for grabs this year are a slot at the New Noise Music Conference and Festival, a feature in The Santa Barbara Independent, pro recording time, instruments, gear, and a haul of cash prizes. But remember, the submission period ends on Saturday, August 31, at 11:59 p.m., so get to it.

ALSO THIS WEEK: If you’re looking to catch a good club show this week, Velvet Jones has you covered on almost all the bases. On Thursday, August 22, they’ll host Americana stalwarts Lucero alongside openers (and locs) Donald Spence and Brian Kinsella. For fans, Lucero’s brand of stomping, throaty, and guttural rock is the stuff nights out were made for. Operating under the same loosely defined musical umbrella as bands like Against Me! and The Hold Steady, Lucero blends punk, folk, and Americana tropes, weaving everyman tales around big guitar and drum moments and pounding parlor keys. In short, it’s a prime soundtrack to an evening of pint drinking and cavorting. The show starts at 9 p.m. with doors at 8 p.m.

On Saturday, August 24, hip-hop’s resident party boy, Shwayze, brings his Summer Tour to Velvet Jones for a late show. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. And on Sunday, August 25, Club Mercy presents Ventura-bred R&B crooner KYLE for an 8 p.m. show in support of his debut LP, Beautiful Loser. Call (805) 965-8676 or visit for tickets and info for all shows.


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