3 Reasons You Should See Josh Radnor Live

Last week Josh Radnor had two solo acoustic sets at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3 in NYC. Now, I know some of you see the name Josh Radnor and automatically think of him as an actor, specifically in the role of Ted Mosby on – should I use the word? I’m gonna use the word – the legendary sitcom How I Met Your Mother, but he’s also an accomplished musician, both as a solo artist, and as one half of the indie folk duo Radnor and Lee.

On stage, armed with just his acoustic guitar, he’s incredibly engaging, not only with his music, but with his interactions with the audience. He encourages the crowd to ask questions in-between songs, and even gets everyone to participate in some singing.

As an aside, when it comes to his audience, I have to say he has some of the nicest superfans around. They just want people to be into his music. There’s no gatekeeping, and there isn’t anything wildly over the top about them (let’s just say I’ve met some superfans of other artists, and have been legitimately frightened by their fandom, to the point where if those artists were to ever go missing, I know who should be the prime suspects).

After seeing Radnor’s performance last Tuesday night, I can understand why he has superfans.

Here are three reasons why you should see Josh Radnor live.

1. He’s an excellent storyteller 

Radnor is very open about beginning to explore his musical side later in life, noting that most people don’t first pick up a guitar in their 40s. Having a late start, however, and 40 years of life experience to infuse into his lyrics, plays a huge role in what makes his music so interesting.

A typical artist in their 40s has put every individual step of their life into their songs along the way, while Radnor has put his entire life experience into his initial offerings. Because of this, a song like “Red,” which is about adolescent rage, comes from the perspective of both having gone through it, and seeing it now, as a grown up, for what it was.

Similarly, it takes an adult perspective to write songs like his ode to one of his previous homes (“Real Good House”), or his tackling of dealing with unhappy emotions (“Learning”), or his look at getting older (“Joshua 45:46”).

These are all stories we don’t typically hear, and Radnor tells them beautifully.

2. His “mistakes are allowed” rule is great for everyone 

Even before he began his set, Radnor told everyone he has a “mistakes are allowed” rule, which allows him to loosen up a bit.

In addition to loosening him up, it also humanizes him, which totally changes – in a good way – the relationship between the person on stage, and the audience.

Some artists need their rockstar pedestal, not just for an ego boost, but because it makes sense. We should not consider ourselves on the same level of a band like The Rolling Stones when they’re on stage. They should be rock gods, and we should be fans.

Radnor’s vibe, however, is indie folk/singer-songwriter, and his lyrics are relatable, so he should be relatable, as well. His “mistakes are allowed” rule creates an almost equal standing between artist and listener.

The humanizing was upped even more at one point last Tuesday when he stopped mid-set to ask us, “Is there a light show going on behind me, or did I microdose this morning?” (FYI – it was the lighting)

3. His set features a mix of his projects 

With both his solo work, and his work as one half of Radnor and Lee, incorporated into his set, fans who know him from either of his musical projects will have something they’ll recognize when they see him live.

A nice bonus on this particular night was that he also sang a cover – it was of Counting Crows’ “Round Here,” as he noted he’s eternally stuck in the ‘90s (talk about relatable for me!). This meant that even those unfamiliar with any of his music still had something they knew.

Radnor did note that he will change his set list depending on where he’s performing, so I’m guessing some of the songs directly involving NYC, including an ode to the city titled “NYC,” might not travel too far out of the tri-state area.

To find out more about Josh Radnor’s music, check out his website, and follow him on social media.


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