I must tell you how good Dr. John Cooper Clarke was at Hotel Cafe last week, so good, and Kinky Friedman at McCabe’s, but… maybe next Thursday, now is now, read this or weep, don’t snooze and lose, get your tix, mark your calendars, turn off the TV and shut down your phones.
MAVIS STAPLES (honey, if Mavis ain’t on your bucket list of performers, you better let me look at your list, she was an important part of the Civil Rights movement in the ‘60s with her family band the Staples Singers — “Respect Yourself,” “I’ll Take You There” — who started in the late ‘40s when Mavis was 9, Bob Dylan literally fell in love with them and asked Mavis to marry him, and today, nearly 80, she can still send chills up your neck and your socks down to your ankles), Sat 8 PM, Richard & Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Long Beach, $50 & $75.
THE DUSTBOWL REVIVAL (I last caught them for free in some bar basement in Venice, now you’re going to have to pay 25 bucks to McCabe’s but you must, they are a really talented octet with roots deep in Americana but mashing influences from everywhere), Sat 8 PM, McCabe’s Guitar Shop, Santa Monica, $25.
ROCK & ROLL LEGENDS: The Lost Negatives of Michael Friedman (haven’t seen this yet but will soon, I’m sure it’s worthwhile from the description, another great story, Friedman was a manager-producer in the late ‘60s – early ‘70s, fell in with some pretty great artists — the Stones, Joplin, the Band — shot amateur but good candid, unposed B&W shots, misplaced the negatives, never printed until now, 60 of them, go from here straight to the Rock & Roll hall of Fame!), every Wed – Sun until July 15, 11 AM – 4 PM, California Heritage Museum, Santa Monica, $5& $3 students and seniors.
L.A. CHAMBER ORCHESTRA (LACO, Bach, Handel, Rameau, at St. Monica’s so I’m figuring it’s a fundraiser, so, go!), Fri 7:30 PM, St. Monica’s Catholic Church, Santa Monica, $45.
JADE JACKSON and a few others, at Stagecoach (yes, I know, far, far away and danged expensive but this is country Coachella, check the lineup, you may find more acts than just Jade Jackson — see below, after Lyric of the Week — that will suck you in), Fri – Sun 12 noon, Empire Polo Club, Indio, $329-$1,199.
THE FORCE OF DESTINY: VERDI CHORUS (selections of arias from three operas), Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 2 pm, First United Methodist Church, Santa Monica, $10-$40.
CHEECH & CHONG (their ship has sailed back, truly a rare concert opportunity, they’re probably still stupidly hilarious, just don’t expect Dave), Sat 9 PM, the Roxy, Hollywood, $52.50
The Reverend Shawn Amos (I’ve written about him several times, look it up, or just trust me and go, you will be entertained), Tues 8 PM, Resident, downtown LA, $8.
BAND NAMES OF THE WEEK: Rat Soup, Sinister Six, Publik Enema, Municipal Waste, Despise You, Yawwn, Ned & the Dirt, Epic Beard Men, and all on one bill Saturday at Valley blues dive the Maui Sugar Mill: Order Disorder, Nancy Nightmare, the Screamin’ Yeehaws, F-Word.
LYRIC OF THE WEEK: “I wanna roll on over the whole world, see every state and city line, I wanna rev my engine ’cause I’m ready, he won’t steady this heart of mine. I wanna ride and see what’s on the other side of the setting sun. Oh please don’t cry, boy, it’s been fun but my motorcycle only seats one. I gotta move like the waters in the river, where the lakes and the ocean mix, please understand, I feel my boot heels sink in quicksand, baby every time we kiss. So I must go and I can’t move slow, I guess you’re paying for the things you’ve done, ah, understand, boy, it’s been fun but my motorcycle only seats one.” — Jade Jackson (“Motorcycle”)
I like Jade Jackson. I can’t say she knocks me out — yet, but I think before long she will, knock a lot of people out.
Great story. Social Distortion’s Mike Ness became a fan while she was playing coffee houses around Cal Arts (actually, his wife saw her first and told him, she’s gonna be a star!), while in their prestigious music program, and Ness wound up producing her first album, last year’s “Gilded” (which is getting a lot of attention now), and putting her on tour opening up for his band — not exactly a match everyone would make.
But Jackson was a Ness fan before that. Her first concert without her parents was Social Distortion, always a big favorite of hers. “When I watched Mike Ness walk onstage and felt the energy from the crowd, it ignited something in me,” Jackson says. “I wanted to be on that stage too. I never knew I wanted to perform until that day. That shifted all the gears in my life.”
After finishing at Cal Arts she went back home to Santa Margarita (pop. 1200, north on 101 over the mountains from San Luis Obispo) and started back waitressing at her parents’ restaurant, jotting down verses and picking out chords during breaks, which was across the street from the home she grew up in that did not have any televisions or computers but was filled with record albums, constantly played. She devoured the liner notes (a rich source of knowledge I have always recommended, reason enough to buy vinyl), listened to a lot of Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, the Cure and the Smiths, started writing songs at age 13 and performing live the next year, and had 375 original songs by her junior year in high school.
“When I was little and listening to Johnny Cash, his songs were so sad, kind of slow and melancholy,” she says. “I didn’t understand what the words meant but I understood how they made me feel. In college, when I had my first taste of real depression, all of a sudden his songs and Hank Williams’s stories came true. I was like, ‘Holy shit! Now I actually know what those words meant!’ It was like a circle completing itself.”
People hear Lucinda Williams and a little Emmylou Harris in her singing and arrangements, and her writing is sophisticated for a “small-town girl” now in her mid-20s. Old influences but a modern mindset, the woman who loves the company of men but knows she doesn’t need them and sometimes they get in the way of where she wants to go. Put her on your list.
Charles Andrews has listened to a lot of music of all kinds, including more than 2,000 live shows. He has lived in Santa Monica for 32 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at firstname.lastname@example.org