Concert preview: Jonathan Richman at Ace of Cups

Joel Oliphint
Photo courtesy the artist

Who could have predicted that the Modern Lovers — a 1970s Velvet Underground-inspired proto-punk act that counted the Sex Pistols as a disciple — would provide the springboard for one of the goofiest, most lovable frontmen in rock?

Ever since he pivoted from that initial incarnation of the Modern Lovers, Jonathan Richman has embraced his whimsical side, which landed him a spot in the 1998 theatrical comedy “There's Something About Mary.” These days Richman usually performs with a nylon-stringed guitar alongside drummer Tommy Larkins, though he'll often set down his guitar mid-song, close his eyes, thrust his face upward and dance around the stage with arms outspread.

That may not sound enticing, but to see Richman is to experience the type of childlike joy that most adults have forgotten how to embody. In these times, a Jonathan Richman show can wield curative powers. It's neither nostalgic nor modern. Just a life-celebrating firehouse of heartfelt, smile-inducing music that's still completely believable. Also: Leave your phone at home for this one. Richman hasn't been a fan of cellphones for a while now. Smart man.(Don't miss it)

Ace of Cups

7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23

2619 N. High St., Old North

Jonathan Richman