YUSUF ISLAM (formerly Cat Stevens)

By CHARLES ANDREWS

IT’S NEW YEAR’S EVE!

And all the excitement that brings!! Right. OK, here comes the Grinch, but I always thought the huge celebration over a day on the calendar that declares something brand new is occurring was not only scientifically unsupportable but culturally lame.

I know, I know, for many it’s just an excuse to have a big party and why not, that’s fine, but there are also many who see it as the end of what may have been a disastrous or just disappointing year for them, looking forward to what the new year will bring.

Yeah, just like they did exactly 365 days go when they screamed their bloody lungs out with joy at the stroke of midnight and kissed some stranger. And a year before that, and…

tRump is still in the White House and we all need seat belts and barf bags for the plummets the stock market takes every few days (on track to be the WORST December for the market since… wait for it… the Great Depression), withdrawal from the Middle East, where we had no business in the first place, will leave the bad guys to divvy up the spoils, and even if 2019 brings removal from office it will take decades, if ever, to undo the damage, it may already be too late to combat climate change, and that sure ain’t going to happen under Mike Pence.

That’s the upside. 2019 could also bring the end of human life on this planet, so, maybe we should just whoop it up every night we haven’t seen mushroom clouds on the horizon, both polar ice caps melting or everything that counts in Australia being drowned by rising sea levels. If 2019 is our last year, just remember, you cheered it in.

Happy New Year, y’all.  

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:

TONIGHT!: X, THE BLASTERS, LOS LOBOS (these are probably the three finest LA bands still crankin’ it, I will never forget seeing them do a New Years Eve show I think at The Cowboy in West LA in the early ‘80s, possibly the first time this perfecta trifecta ever billed, and none of them have diminished much at all in the ensuing nearly four decades, guaranteed you will not forget this show, 35 bucks? — you’ll pay 5 or 10 times that for a festival you won’t enjoy as much, prepare to sweat, boogie and grin), Fri 8 p.m., The Observatory, Santa Ana, $35.

LA PHILHARMONIC – ZUBIN MEHTA conducts Brahms Symphony No. 3 featuring PINCHAS ZUCKERMAN (Zube? Zuck? Bowie? Glass Cage? the Phil is rockin’ through mid-January, starting with two by Brahms, who’s on my Top Ten classical composers list, the 3rd tonight and tomorrow with legendary violinist Zuckerman, you’ll all recognize the third movement but listen for the darkness, then the immense 4th on the weekend, followed by another cool dude on my Top Ten, Dvořák, two chamber pieces, then three nights with Renaissance man John Cage conducting the world premier by his buddy Philip Glass, Symphony No. 12, Lodger, from the music of David Bowie and Brian Eno featuring Angelique Kidjo, vocalist plus 2 sopranos and a mezzo-, guess I better feed my train tap card), next Thurs, 8 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, downtown LA, $66-$209

RECOMMENDED:

MIKE WATT & THE SECONDMEN, FARTBARF, Audacity, Very Crush (people, you’ve got to pay attention, maybe even take notes, or… google a bit, I have mentioned the first two groups so many times only they are not sick of it, if you see only half of Fartbarf’s set you’ll feel your 10 bucks was a steal)), Sat 8 p.m., Alex’s Bar, Long Beach, $10

OZZFEST with  OZZY, MARILYN MANSON, BODY COUNT featuring ICE T, Rob Zombie, Korn’s Jonathan Davis (looks like this is your Big Deal NYE show and for a certain crowd this is heaven, I’d be interested in maybe half of it and the other half might make me consider bashing my brains out but, you may feel differently), Mon 7 p.m., The Forum, Inglewood, $20-$1,000.

OZOMATLI (still an excellent rap-rock-Latin outfit, an excellent NYE bet if you’re near Tustin and don”t mind paying NYE show prices), Mon 9 p.m., Marty’s on Newport, Tustin, $40-$500.

ROSIE FLORES, JAMES INTVELD, the Hot Rod Trio (here’s a NYE bargain for ya, outstanding LA country-rockabilly veterans, normal price, whew), Mon 7 p.m., Arcadia Blues Club, $25.

PROHIBITION NYE (can’t recommend this from any personal insight but it does sound more interesting than the slew of expensive DJ parties you can pay for, and if you plan to get blotto this night — naw, no one — the price includes an open bar, our own KCRW is putting on the ritz for the 7th year, Roaring ‘20s dress is encouraged, formal attire for men and feathers and fringe for the ladies, or vice versa, featuring DJ Classixx, musical guests Tony Gadachy, Daniel Minaya, Mogli, Jackie Emerald, the jazz ensemble from Lyndsay and the All Nighters and saxophonist Justin Ward, jazz, burlesque), Mon, Union Station, downtown LA, $205-$2,590 (VIP, table for 12, do the math, it’s a better deal).

BAND NAMES OF THE WEEK: Woody Mankowski & the Rumproller All-Stars, Tony Velour, Cell Rot, Jesika Von Rabbit, Rapscallion, Queen Kwong, Dance Yourself Clean, Hookers & Blow, Faster Pussycat, Bears in Space, Violet Mindfield, Stevenson Ranch Davidians, Sick Mystic

LYRIC OF THE WEEK:

“[Father:] It’s not time to make a change, Just sit down, take it slowly

You’re still young, that’s your fault, there’s so much you have to go through

Find a girl, settle down, if you want you can marry

Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy

[Son:] All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside

It’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it

If they were right, I’d agree, but it’s them they know not me

Now there’s a way and I know that I have to go away,

I know I have to go” — Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam), “Father and Son” (1970)

His words always seemed to touch your heart, simple or mysterious as they might be. He came up with a great gimmick here, such a vivid generational drama in so few words when he would sing the father’s words in a baritone and the son’s in a high register.

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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