Jonah Matranga, Back in Town Tomorrow Night


[UPDATE: Well, apparently my attempt at embedding the Far video below didn’t work as well as I’d hoped; it appears to work in some browsers (like Firefox on my home Macbook) but not in others (like Firefox on my work PC). Dang. I’ve included the actual link to the video below, for folks who can’t make the embedded version work. Sorry ’bout that…]

Yep, I know I’ve raved at length about the guy previously, but I honestly can’t help it. Post-emo indie-rock/pop singer/songwriter/zombie killer guy Jonah Matranga is just the coolest freaking guy, and talented as hell, to boot. His songs, to me, are like the epitome of car-singing songs — they sound best (mostly) when you belt them out at the top of our lungs while blazing down the freeway with the windows wide open.

I mean, honestly, how else could you do justice to “Aeroplanes”, “We Had A Deal”, or “Got My List” — which, yes, is a Seven Seconds cover, but apparently Kevin Seconds himself told Jonah he loved the song when he heard it, not realizing it was his own damn song, so that pretty much cancels out that band’s claim of ownership. I’m not the “I only like the heavy/fast stuff!” guy, either; the sweet, gentle, folky songs just kill me, too, and I absolutely love “Every Mistake,” the ode to his daughter that showed up on his last full-length, And. Jonah’s just an all-round good songwriter and performer, period.

All of which is good news, since Jonah’ll be back in Houston tomorrow, Thursday, January 29th, playing a low-key, just-him-and-a-guitar show at the newly-opened Upstart Filmworks Warehouse (5705 Cornish, 77007; it’s part of Watershed Studios, off I-10 near Memorial Park), the new home for SCR compatriot and good friend (of mine and Jonah’s) Mel House‘s Upstart Filmworks crew. I love that Jonah goes for oddball, non-“club” shows like this one — the last one I saw, at Mel’s old warehouse space, was ultra down-to-earth, just Jonah, his guitar, and a small, intimate crowd of about 12-15 people. Which is insane, admittedly, given that the guy used to front pretty much the top-flight nü-metal band of the bunch, Far, back when nü-metal was just getting going, and that he reportedly plays big-ass shows elsewhere. When he comes here, though, it’s all very mellow and low-key, like a bunch of friends sitting around watching another friend sing his songs.

Of course, given that, I probably shouldn’t post about this here, but keep it all to myself instead, right? Nah, that’d be lame; one of the great joys of discovering great music, to me, is in sharing it. So take my advice and get on out tomorrow night to see Jonah do his thing. It’s gonna be good, trust me.

Other relevant details, for those interested… The cover’s going to be donation-style, with a suggested range of $8-$20. Jonah goes by a pay-what-you-can philosophy, like with Radiohead’s latest album except that Jonah really kinda does need the $$$ to cover getting to the next town. The show starts at 8PM or so, so get there around 7:30PM to grab a piece of floor or (less likely) a seat. Mel’s warned anybody going to keep in mind that this is a warehouse, and it’s gonna be cold outside, so you’d be smart to come prepared w/warm clothing and a blanket or folding chair or something else to sit on.

To sweeten the pot somewhat, here’s a little som’n-som’n you’re probably not going to find anywhere else, at least not at the moment. The aforementioned Mr. House also happened to be on hand back in the fall of last year for the two “Hot Little Pony” shows out in California that turned out to actually be — surprise, surprise — reunion shows for Jonah’s old band, the legendary, bigger-now-than-they-were-then Far. Mel was there, in fact, to be the official cinematographer for the deal, and he did a heck of a job. Not sure where the footage will end up eventually, but here’s a somewhat cropped clip of the rejuvenated band doing the classic “Mother Mary”

If you have problems viewing the embedded video, btw, or you’d just rather see the full-sized thing in all its glory, click here to open to “Mother Mary” video in a new browser window. Then get on over to the warehouse tomorrow night for the mellowed-out version…


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