Wow! Where did all the good music go? I don’t remember seeing such a sparse calendar for music in the usual places since I launched this column. Maybe everyone is gearing up for the onslaught of great live music (much of it free, in the parks) that makes LA such a feet-shufflin’, finger-snappin’, auditory wonderland in the summer.

Next Thursday, June 21, Summer Solstice, it’s Make Music Day, in Santa Monica, LA, and the world, literally — it started in Paris 36 years ago as Fete de la Musique, and is now active in more than 800 cities in more than 120 countries.

The philosophy is to promote music in two ways: amateur and professional musicians are encouraged to perform in the streets that day, and many free concerts are organized, making all genres of music accessible to the public. Two of the caveats to being sanctioned by the official organization in Paris are that all concerts must be free to the public, and all performers donate their time for free.


This is the seventh year Santa Monica has participated, but sadly, it’s smaller now than it was a few years ago. I spent hours trying to find out the schedules for the various park venues and finally discovered why it was so hard: there was not a lot to discover.

But there will be fun to be had, for sure. Some of our parks will be alive with the joyful sounds of all kinds of music, played by all sorts of musicians, pro and amateur, most of them your neighbors. You should grab friends or family, blankets and a picnic dinner, and have a fine time.

PALISADES PARK (presented by NOMA), Ocean Ave between Georgina and San Vicente, 5 – 8:30 p.m., “bring a picnic and enjoy the sunset and Summer Solstice, treats and drinks provided”:

5:00 — Captain Dan & Friends (kids music and jazz variety)

5:45 — Maurock (classical guitar, Latin)

6:15 — ABCs (Beatles, classic rock)

6:45 — Larry Coven (great American songbook, cabaret)

7:30 — the Wilde-Hartmans (R&B, classic rock and beyond)

HOTCHKISS PARK (presented by OPA), 2302 4th Street, 3 – 7 p.m. — saw the schedule once but can’t find it again. Make Music LA lists this but I think there’s more:

5:00 — Dog Town Originals (Indie-rock)

6:00 — the CheeseBergens (punk, metal, rock)

REED PARK (presented by Wilmont), Wilshire & Lincoln, 3 – 6 p.m.:

3:00 — the Wilmonts (folk, pop, rock)

4:00 — David Sparrow (folk, rock)

5:00 — Folks & Company (folk, rock)

It would also appear from the Make Music LA website that our ubiquitous local singer-songwriter Indie-folk world music guy TEE-M will be performing at the Gelson’s on Lincoln, 11 a.m.; not otherwise confirmed.

Mid City Neighbors tell me they will be having an event at Colorado Center Park, Broadway & 26th, from 5 – 8 p.m., but still ironing out the details.

Two shows this weekend at MCCABE’S worth noting, though I can’t throw them a RECOMMENDED because I’m not familiar enough with the artists’ solo work.

DAN NAVARRO is now solo after many years as half of Lowen & Navarro (Friday 8 p.m., $20), and J MASCIS has his first solo album out after a quarter century with Dinosaur Jr., which he founded (Sun 8 p.m., $35).

Aw, go on, take a chance, and let me know how they were.


TONIGHT! — 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (new 70mm print for 50th anniversary, great soundtrack, gave the Strauss boys their first hits in a century — actually, they’re not related, sent people back to Nietzsche, made Ligeti hip in a way he never imagined, I plan to make one more attempt to explain it all to myself), Thurs – Tues, 7:30 PM, Aero Theater, Santa Monica, $15.


TONIGHT! — Soundwaves Music Series with pianist NIC GERPE, violinist Pasha Tseitlin (never seen Nic neither, but I’ve been to enough of these Soundwaves concerts to know it’s a pretty good bet if your music ears are a little open-minded, he’ll be playing Zipper Hall next Tues and that will not be no cover so take advantage here, good ol’ Santa Monica), 7:30 p.m., Santa Monica Main Library, no cover.

26th Annual Juneteenth Festival featuring CAL BENNETT, THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS, others (“commemorates the announcement of the emancipation of enslaved African Americans who lived in the former Confederacy — two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, a jubilant celebration of justice and liberty with music and food,” I can recommend both smooth sax man Bennett, who performed on my cable TV show some years back, and The Rev, who I first caught at a Broad Fest a couple years ago and have since seen, and written about, at Herb Alpert’s gorgeous Vibrato jazz club in Beverly Canyon, where he is music director and performs once a month, not so much jazz but a stellar showman of several genres), Sat 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Virginia Avenue Park, Santa Monica, no cover.

Then run over to Meet Me at Reed, ONLY VOICES, AN A CAPELLA PICNIC (“featuring several of Southern California’s very best all-vocal groups, sing along with contemporary hits and American classics, bring picnic blankets, lawn chairs, food and non-alcoholic beverages,” family activities starting at 3 p.m., concert at 5), Sat, Reed Park, Santa Monica, no cover.


CHICAGO, REO SPEEDWAGON (my worst music nightmare: Chicago’s first LP, Chicago Transit Authority, a nervy double album debut, was superb, a few songs on their second one were good, then it went crashing downhill all the way now to their latest, Chicago XXXVI, doing not much for creative naming but teaching the world dreck by Roman numerals, though I suppose I should give them some credit personally for being half of the massive stadium tour in the summer of ‘75, with the Beach Boys, that I reviewed at Anaheim Stadium for Record World trade magazine, on a visit to LA from Albuquerque, and was amazed to find out that I had become a “name critic” by the next day, but then there is the agonized over, finally chose wrong, positive review I gave to the bazillion-selling REO album “High Infidelity,” six singles released, 10x platinum, that within a week and ever since I have found completely, wrenchingly unlistenable, yuck, ick), Fri 7:30 p.m., the Forum, Inglewood, $24.50-$119.50.

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.co