WHAT’S LATE GOT TO DO WITH IT?
One of our best music resources here in Santa Monica, all things considered, for many years has been the live music at the Main Street Farmers Market on Sundays. The acts are very good, and if they aren’t, just go get a crepe and coffee. Whaddaya want, your money back? It’s Sunday, it’s free, it’s in the sunshine, it’s a block from the beach.
I used to praise singer-guitarist Eric Kufs as “one of the best acts they book there, total pro, great voice, songs, presentation” — why, just last week I did that, in my column! But no more. He may be all that still, but he proved himself last Sunday to be a first-class jerk too.
I got there on time and grabbed one of the few chairs set up (they need a lot more), and sat back and waited. And waited. 10:15, 10:30, no Kufs. I would have left but dammit, I told my readers to come see this guy and I was going to find out what was going on.
At 10:45 I went over to the Market’s booth to inquire, as had several other people waiting patiently — is there going to be a show? Any idea when? I was told what they were: the performer has been delayed but he’s on his way.
At five till eleven he finally pulls up, no apologies, starts unloading, plugging things in (not many things — it’s just him and a guitar), then disappears, finally comes back and starts the show 30 minutes after arriving. 10:00 start time, it’s now almost 11:30. There was a sweet lady next to me, dressed so nicely with a dapper sun hat, maybe in her 90s, and she too had nothing to do but stare into space for 90 minutes. “I live across the street and I come over here every Sunday for the music,” she smiled. Bless your heart, lady. You sure got cuffed around today.
Kufs told me he had a “calendar malfunction” — just plain missed it, Okay, that can happen to anyone. We’re all human. In fact, Jodi Low, who has done a fine job all this time running the shows, told me an added factor was that Kufs has a new baby, his wife was late getting home and he had to find someone last minute. (Because he forgot he had this gig.) Low told me she has all sorts of preventatives built in but that that Sunday she was pulled elsewhere on the lot and there was a “perfect storm” of elements that just messed it all up.
Fair enough. But Kufs told the more-than-patient crowd he was “Sorry — running a little late today. Gotta make it up… for lost time. So, there’s the tip jar, and CDs.” Yes. Not sorry for our inconvenience, but sorry he lost out on extra time when we could give him money. When he repeated that apology a few minutes later, I got up and left in disgust.
He also publicly shamed someone who threw coins (!) into his massive tip basket and then picked up a CD to look at it. “That’s $10,” he announced on the mic. “Oh…” she said, as she realized she had picked up a CD and not an info postcard, “I was just looking at it.”
“Well, I saw you put in a quarter…”
Contrast that to the punk band I saw later that day at Harvelle’s, the Mormons, who immediately apologized to the crowd for being a little late. Dressed in white shirts and black ties, backpacks and bike helmets, the guitar player said, “Everyone asks us where our bikes are, well, today I rode my bike and I guess that was a mistake. Sorry for the delay, folks.”
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: “THE ALAMO” (regulars of rundown neighborhood bar in Brooklyn resisting gentrification invasion of “young neo-carpetbaggers” — relevance to Santa Monica issues?), Sat, Sun, and 3/2-3/18, 2 or 8 PM, Ruskin Group Theatre, SM Airport, $17-$27.
TONIGHT! PAUL LAQUES plus others (this sounds good: songwriters talking about words in an intimate bookstore in Echo Park, I’ve known Lacques’ work for decades, since the Bonedaddys, through Rotondi and Double Naught Spycar to I See Hawks in LA), 7:30 PM, Stories Books & Cafe, Echo Park, no cover.
MATT BARBIER,(solo trombone, part of the experimental Soundwaves series, usually quite worthwhile), Main Library, downtown SM, 7:30 PM, no cover.
DAVID MARCUS (seems to be a new venue in the neighborhood for good live music so I’m all for that, saw videos and he’s a good jazz pianist), 7 PM, Il Piccolo Verde, Brentwood, no cover.
Phil Chen + 10 other top players (Roadhouse Series presents A TRIBUTE TO MOTOWN, waaay out in Altadena, for decades presenting great semi-known performers of the highest calibre, usually acoustic folk/Americana/country), 7:30 PM, the Coffee Gallery Backstage, Altadena, $20.
CHERYL BENTYNE (Manhattan Transfer), 7:30 PM, Vitello’s, Bel Air, $20.
If you go to UNION, LA, Fri night and stay til 4 in the morning, you can hear 31 bands, $10-$30.
BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB (such a great rock band), Sat, 9 PM, the Fonda Theatre, LA, $36.
JACARANDA MUSIC AT THE EDGE SERIES – EXTRASENSORY featuring the LYRIS QUARTET, Jacaranda Chamber Orchestra, Sat, 8 PM, First Presbyterian Church, SM, $45.
GEORGE BOHANON (legendary jazz trombonist), Sat, 9 and 10:30 PM, the World Stage, Leimert Park, $20.
GEORGE KAHN (sort-of SM terrific jazz pianist and composer), Sat, 6:30 PM no cover, 8 PM $20, Vibrato, Bel Air.
VAN MORRISON (say no more, the Celtic rock soul scat genius who may or may not put on the show of a lifetime, or even show, so if you’ve got the bucks, play the odds and go to every show), Mon, $104.75-$259.75, Tues, $98.50-$253.50 (are they betting Monday’s will be better?), 7 PM, the Wiltern, LA.
BAND NAMES OF THE WEEK: Houston & the Dirty Rats, Gentlemen Prefer Blood, the Audiots, Yaawn, Bleeding Harp (beer-geography-politics joke), Very Be Careful (very good LA band playing Colombian vallenato music, I’ve always loved their name), Pig & Dan (because my perverse mind imagines going up to the duo during a break, reaching out a hand to one of them and saying, Hi, you must be Dan…)
LYRIC OF THE WEEK: “Everything I’ve seen needs rearranging and for anyone who thinks it’s strange, then you should be the first to want to make this change, and for everyone who thinks that life is just a game, do you like the part you’re playing?” — Arthur Lee, of Love — happy BD Johnny Echols (“You Set the Scene”)
Charles Andrews 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 email@example.com