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Jonathan Richman will perform at ARTS/West on Wednesday. (Provided via Brian Koscho)

Jonathan Richman of the Modern Lovers to play in Athens

On Wednesday night, Jonathan Richman of the Modern Lovers will perform at ARTS/West at 132 West State St.

An avid listener of the Velvet Underground, Richman became inspired and formed his group the Modern Lovers in the early seventies. The band is now considered an extremely influential proto-punk garage rock band, with artists from the Sex Pistols and Joan Jett crediting and covering its music.

Popular hits “Roadrunner” and “Pablo Picasso” are some of the Modern Lovers’ most notable work. Although the Modern Lovers broke up in 1974, Richman continued on with a solo career. 

Richman will be on vocals and guitars and will be accompanied by Tommy Larkins on the drums. Tommy Larkins, from Tucson, Arizona, has been in bands Naked Prey and Giant Sand.

The show has not yet sold out, but Stuart’s Opera House, the sponsor for the show, is expecting a huge turnout.

“We still have around a week here … In the last week you get kind of last minute ticket sales picking up,” Brian Koscho, marketing director of Stuart’s Opera House, said.

ARTS/West is a space that is part of the Athens’ Arts, Parks and Recreation Department. It is currently used for theater, music, various craftspeople, and, occasionally, concerts. Stuart’s Opera House is utilizing the venue for the performance. 

“It’s an awesome space run by the city,” Koscho said. “It’s a performing arts center and a community-run space. … The building was an old church, and it’s been run as an art center for probably 12 or 13 years. They do events there all the time, everything from concerts to theatre … All sorts of stuff. It’s a really cool space.”

Justine Orr, a freshman studying journalism, likes Jonathan Richman’s music and wishes she could make it to the concert. 

“I was kind of raised on his music,” Orr said. “I never really listened to the Modern Lovers deliberately, but my dad listens to them a lot, and he loves their song ‘Pablo Picasso.’ I think they’re really inspiring, and I should listen to them more.”

Orr believes Richman’s style is very unique. 

“I think he’s a really talented singer and guitarist,” she said.

Reese Little, a freshman studying communication sciences and disorders, is really excited for Richman’s concert, even though she can’t make it.

“I really like his music.” Little said. “It has, like, a bunch of different tones and instruments in it, and I love that. It’s very bright, and it puts me in a good mood, giving me a nostalgic feel. His music is upbeat, bouncy and dramatic, and that’s what I like about it.”


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