Thursday, May 21, 2009

Live Review - Jonah Matranga @ Mercury Lounge

Certain artists come into your life either by choice or by pure accident. Someone like Jonah Matranga, the most underrated man in music today, is a healthy combination of both for me. Back when I was working at my college radio station, WQAQ, he had headlined our 2004 spring concert under the name onelinedrawing. It was then when his music came into my life and changed the way I looked at musicians. His music is honest as it is ironic, it is soft as it is aggressive, it is tender as it is sweet and his live shows are an intimate look into a man's personal life on display. At his most vulnerable is when we learn the most about Jonah during his shows. He will discuss everything from past relationships to sexuality to other bands he has been in and he has been in a ton. Tonight at Mercury Lounge was no exception, this was the fifth time I had seen Mr. Matranga and I always seem to walk away from his shows a much more humble human being. Tonight was a quick 60 minute set that featured rare onelinedrawing songs, songs from his band Far and songs from other artists. Opening his show with Weezer's "Say It Aint So," it set the tone for the rest of the nights festivities, he also managed to include covers of Genuine's "Pony," and Van Halen's "Jump," throughout the set. Yet, Jonah will never do anything quiet, he talked about his take on last nights new American Idol, the new Far record (due sometime next year) and his career. Jonah's career has always been about being true to himself and never anyone else. He bought into corporate labels, but left it behind and is probably the happiest person in today's world going to work everyday and doing what he loves. It is a basic operation, just a name and his guitar with beats coming from his Ipod. Jonah was naming the price of his music long before Radiohead, he was giving it away for free before Trent Reznor and was meeting fans and talking to them after shows as a real person and not a musician or some corporate slave. If everything in life was like a Jonah show, the world would be a better place.