Ready set go, tonight!

TOPANGA BANJO FIDDLE CONTEST FESTIVAL WAS A TREAT!

Make your plans now for next year! Get there early, stay all day. Paramount Ranch is an “old Western town” in Agoura Hills,created as a movie set in the ‘20s, which makes it a perfect, charming setting for olde tyme music, bluegrass, folk, country and such, which you get on various stages, both professionals from around the world and amateurs competing for trophies, but some of the best music you’ll ever hear is being knocked out in impromptu jams under trees and on the grass all over the grounds. One group of about a dozen grinning musicians had half a dozen fiddles making a glorious, foot-stompin’ sound together.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:

HENRY ROLLINS (what!?! — 60 bucks for ol’ Henry Rollins, and he’s not even playing music? you remember Black Flag shows when he was singing, snarling and spitting and you paid nothing and maybe even got a chance to take a swing at him or vice versa, well, that was then and we all evolve and Henry has turned into quite the writer, actor, comedian, TV and radio star, a jack of all media trades from Vanity Fair to Rolling Stone, “Sons of Anarchy” to “Heat” with Pacino and De Niro, and a Grammy for his narration of his autobiography audiobook, so don’t miss this chance to catch his act in your own backyard — his fourth spoken word release 28 years ago was “Live at McCabe’s”), Sat 8 p.m., McCabe’s Guitar Shop, Santa Monica, $60.

“POPE FRANCIS: A MAN OF HIS WORD” (I know, this is a movie with no music featured, but I have to recommend this new Wim Wenders documentary, because it is extraordinary and because many will dis and ignore it because of their understandable contempt for the Catholic Church, but I can tell you as a fallen away that this man Francis is not a part of the centuries old culture of the Church that he finds abominable — the pedophilia, the shaming of gays, the blind eye to poverty and injustice — he is a man of the people and a revolutionary whose reign began tellingly with the name he chose, who has gone after Vatican corruption as best he can but the machinery is dug down deep and I keep waiting for him to wake up with a horse head in his bed, so if you can put aside any prejudices and expectations you will see why Wenders made the choice to handle this the way he did, letting us hear Francis’s words directly, looking into those absolutely entrancing, sparkling eyes of his), Monica and Landmark Theaters, Santa Monica and West LA.

RECOMMENDED:

TONIGHT! — TOM JONES (still top drawers! he’s 77 — bucket list!), 8 p.m., Greek Theatre, LA, $37.50-$165, also Sat 7 p.m., Santa Barbara Bowl, $49-$109.50

TONIGHT! — LAKE STREET DIVE (she sings well), Mikaela Davis (harpist-vocalist), 7 p.m., House of Blues Anaheim, $36.75.

TONIGHT! — SOUNDWAVES NEW MUSIC SERIES with pianist STEVEN VANHAUEAERT (a local treasure sadly undiscovered by most, innovative, intriguing mostly modern repertoire expertly performed, in our own Main Library, go!), 7:30 p.m., Main Library MLK Jr. Auditorium, Santa Monica, no cover.

DENNY LAINE (founding member of Moody Blues — sang lead on “Go Now!” — then to Ginger Baker’s Air Force, then to Paul McCartney’s band Wings, not bad for less than a decade, should be a tuneful stroll down memory laine), Fri 8 p.m., McCabe’s Guitar Shop, Santa Monica, $25.

SANTA MONICA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Memorial Weekend Concert (they’re quite good, you should never miss an opportunity to hear them), Sun 7 p.m., Barnum Hall, Samohi, no cover.

THE BONEDADDYS (one of the few remaining classic LA house party bands from the early ‘80s, still doin’ it every so often because good music and top players are something to hold onto), Sun 6 p.m., the Write-Off Room, Woodland Hills, no cover.

DAVE ALVIN, JIMMY DALE GILMORE (our own country treasure and one from TX, this should be folky, rootsy and good), Sun 11 a.m., the Federal, North Hollywood, no cover.

PAUL SIMON (… it’s Paul Simon, and it’s his last tour), Mon 8 p.m., Hollywood Bowl $39.50-$250

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (also not music but also an opportunity in your backyard not to miss, Kareem was never just another talented but dumb jock, he is a Renaissance man author-jazz expert-martial artist-columnist-cancer crusader-historian-political activist-cultural ambassador-medal of Freedom winner, speaking of his life and mentors and teachers), Tues 8 p.m., Ann & Jerry Moss Theater, New Roads School, Santa Monica, $25-$95.

JUDY COLLINS, STEPHEN STILLS (the last time I heard Stills, a couple years ago, he could not come very close to those old high notes he used to love but he has some great songs, solo and CS&N/Y, and the man was always one of the best pickers around, and his former squeeze Judy Blue Eyes is still enchanting for her voice and classic songs, but, long ways, top price), Tues-Wed, 8 p.m., the Coach House, San Juan Capistrano, $100.

KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD (I know, long way to go again, but you have got to see this innovative, prolific, highly entertaining 7-piece, psychedelic rockers from Down Under), Wed 8 p.m., the Observatory, Santa Ana, $25.

BAND NAMES OF THE WEEK: Great Good Fine OK, Free Salamander Exhibit, Stoney Sugarskull, Palm Springsteen, the San Andreas Sisters, Jerry’s Middle Finger, Bad Samaritans, and good groupings: Cheap Tissue – Neo Globs – Golden Grease (sorry for the image), and good bands for venue names: the Deductions at the Write-Off Room, Five-Headed Cobra at the Viper Room, Sage at the Mint.

LYRIC OF THE WEEK: “Hear that lonesome whippoorwill, he sounds too blue to fly, the midnight train is whining low, I’m so lonesome I could cry. I’ve never seen a night so long when time goes crawling by, the moon just went behind the clouds to hide its face and cry. Did you ever see a robin weep when leaves begin to die, that means he’s lost the will to live, I’m so lonesome I could cry. The silence of a falling star lights up a purple sky, and as I wonder where you are I’m so lonesome I could cry.” — Hank Williams

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “When you’re happy you enjoy the music. When you’re sad you understand the lyrics.” — unknown

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 therealmrmusic@gmail.com.

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