NOTEWORTHY column for Thurs., Nov. 2, 2017
By CHARLES ANDREWS
THAT PROVERBIAL LIMB
So wobbly, when you go out on it. Don’t you ever learn, Charles? Remember REO Speedwagon?
Yes. I believe I have learned. And that’s why I am now going to run straight out to the very end of that limb and jump up and down and testify Yeah! — Oh Yeah!! — and rave about the Reverend Shawn Amos and tell you that if you don’t go see him TONIGHT at Vibrato, please, just don’t ever tell me you didn’t, lie to my face, because I will lose all respect for you. In fact, fisticuffs may ensue. I will probably lose and get beaten badly, but I have my principles and some things are worth fighting for.
Gifted performers, driven by devotion to the music and its history, informed, articulate and crafting an album, a band, a stage show to honor it and convince you you’ve stepped back in time, AND you can’t help tapping your feet or jumping up to dance and you wouldn’t think of leaving until the last note has faded — that’s a rare animal, my friends, and when that circus comes to town, one night only, where you gonna be?
Let me say it again —
8 p.m., $20 cover, at Vibrato, probably LA’s most sumptuous nightclub, built by Herb
Alpert (sometimes he’s in the audience, because he loves great music too), featuring
great music of any sort but mostly jazz. I would feel safe to send you there on
any night and feel confident. Reserve a table for dinner and you’ll be spitting distance from the large stage (um, that’s a figure of speech, of course), and the food is really good. But any seat in the house is good, even back against the wall behind the bar.
If you don’t catch him tonight you’ll have to wait til Feb. 16 and drive to the Mystic Theater in Petaluma. I would highly recommend that trek, but isn’t this easier? Vibrato is in a shopping center in Beverly Glen — look it up before you go. A tucked-away secret.
DRESSED SO SNAPPY
A slight gentleman in tight-fitting dark suit (dark purple?) and white dress shirt, plain tie (usually), trilby hat, modest glasses and a variety of subtly snazzy patent leather footwear in rainbow colors, the Rev hits the stage looking intriguing, promising, but likely not anything you’re going to tell your friends about. And he doesn’t turn cartwheels or try to match Robert Plant primal screams or Howlin’ Wolf growls, but he does have a perfect voice and presentation for the material, and sometimes he will end a number on his knees (because he felt it and just had to), and when he whips out his harp and blows blues or jazz or rock and roll, he adds another dimension to an already skintight if low key band. He had a very tough childhood here in LA, with a wigged out mama and an absent rising entrepreneur father (cookie man Famous Amos), and went from music to digital businessman (recognized by Forbes) to a crucial mentoring by the amazing Solomon Burke that sent him back to the blues.
Everything musical about the Reverend Shawn Amos is just where it should be, and that is rare, and it feeds your soul. You may not (or you may) feel compelled to jump to your
feet, pump your fist and scream yahooo, but I’m pretty sure you will heartily applaud
every number with a great big grin of satisfaction on your face. “To make people smile
and boogie is important work,” says the Rev.
What if all these fantasies come flailing around? Now I’ve said too much… (or maybe) I haven’t said enough. (R.E.M.) How thick, again, was that limb I’ve gone out on? Well, judging by the show I saw the Rev put on at the end of last summer outdoors at the Broad (Theater) Fest, yup, I’m betting my rep.
GOODBYE (sniff): For 10 years at 100.3 FM, you heard some excellent rock and roll programming, not adventuresome but with good taste and not much repetition, my #2 pick on the dial. They’re playing a countdown to oblivion now of their favorite 2000 songs, alphabetically.
Oblivion? The station’s been sold and possibly by the time you read this you will hear “contemporary Christian love songs” dripping out from 100.3, so, longtime listeners, beware, especially those with faint hearts and weak stomachs. I will now keep my car radio dial permanently on KCSN, 88.5, a nearly perfect radio station from which I learn so much.
RECOMMENDED: aka Shameless Family Plug — There’s much bad to be said about Texas today, politically, but they do still produce a plethora of purty darn good musicians. And Austin is an island of sanity in Perry Bush country. I have relatives in Austin, my wife’s sister Monica and her husband Rick, and if Rick hadn’t gone for the security of IBM and later a teaching position at UT Austin, he might have been one of those iconic laid-back Texas troubadours whose next album many fans would be eagerly awaiting.
That next album is now here and it is probably the best he’s ever put together. Some new songs, some old, solid playing and outstanding production behind his easy-to-like voice and endearing lyrics. The whole damnfamily is on this one, down to little grandkids (and yes, my wife Dian on background vocals). “After All These Years” by the Byars Family Band is what you’d probably like to be doing in retirement, but it wouldn’t sound this good. If enough of you take a chance for 12 bucks and spring for it, I might still get invited to Thanksgiving.
LYRIC OF THE WEEK: “You’re breakin’ my heart, you’re tearing it apart, so FU.” — Harry Nilsson (“You’re Breaking My Heart”) — the first time I ever heard this, driving on an LA freeway, I nearly swerved off the road. Such an honest, universal sentiment, took
that long for someone to say it in a song? Also on the “Son of Schmilsson” album, the ultimately honest old age song, “I’d Rather Be Dead,” written when Nilsson was barely into his 30s, with producer Richard Perry. (“I’d rather be dead, than wet my bed…”)
Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 31 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else
in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at firstname.lastname@example.org