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Two concerts prove that Richmonders will flock to see a good show.

Richmond Rocks After All


Richmonders love a good show, and they will mob a club to see one.

This statement flies in the face of popular wisdom, which says Richmonders try to blockade talent from coming in (the Grateful Dead, Marilyn Manson) and refuse to see a good show should any slip through the cracks.

But concerts two week ago by Jonathan Richman at Alley Katz and Clan of Xymox at Twisters proved popular wisdom wrong. Vastly different in musical styles, the two performances shared many similarities, the most obvious being that both were standing-room-only.

Richman founded the now-defunct Modern Lovers, an '80s follower of The Velvet Underground. He has been performing since his teens, and is known for constructing amazing songs out of understated and usually funny topics, such as how he hates the silent treatment.

With only an electrified acoustic guitar and a lone drummer, Richman worked the crowd like a maestro, inspiring cheers and laughter, but mostly wide-eyed awe. He could not, however, inspire Richmonders to dance. Three times he put down his guitar and danced alone, as if to show how easy it was. The audience must have been too amazed by his talent to follow his lead.

Richman's good-night and exit provoked no less than five straight minutes of roaring applause, followed by shouted demands that he return to the stage and give up one more tune. He already had done three encores.

Clan of Xymox is another '80s act that's better known as Xymox. Their music is an earlier and somewhat slower version of the industrial sound popularized by Nine Inch Nails. Xymox lacks the name recognition they had in the '80s, but they strode into Twisters and played like big stars anyway.

At first, the crowd reacted like the one at the Richman show — slack-jawed, hypnotized. But soon the droning vocals (helped tremendously by keyboards and echo) and the pounding rhythm of the drums and bass moved the crowd to dance in the tightly packed club. Xymox played three encores, and the audience erupted and begged for more when it was over.

Don't believe the hype the next time you hear Richmond is a boring town. Everything depends on who shows up, and who sits at home

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