MUSIC TOPS POLITICS
Every time. Duh. But I mean, in real importance in life. I am drawn to both, but one is a fascination and a compulsion to know, like staring at a burning building, and the other is a refuge and source of both energy and calm, where the answer to all things resides. Of course, politics does cause a lot of burning buildings.
The world could survive (better) without politics. But our souls would shrivel away without music. (See the insightful documentary, “Yellow Submarine.”) Fundamentalists are capable of the most horrific crimes in the name of their religious beliefs, but that aside, any movement that banishes music obviously does not have God’s phone number.
Music is the world’s common language. Everybody likes some kind of music. I don’t know what activist/ex-mayor Judy Abdo favors specifically. Maybe even heavy metal.
You may have read yesterday in my CURIOUS CITY column of my encounter on Main Street with Abdo. No, I’m OK, thanks for asking. Actually, it was pleasant and charming, even though she was critical of me, but she was gracious.
GUNS IN THE HOUSE
I related yesterday how she began dissecting my NOTEWORTHY column of last Thursday until she finally got where she wanted to go: my list of terrible bands. When she got to my mention of L.A. Guns, she asked a few pointed questions about my familiarity with them, before announcing, “Tracii Guns is my nephew.”
I resisted the temptation to ask how a good auntie could not slap him for putting an extra “i” in his name, because she clearly had no influence on his body full of tattoos. I had to admit that I came up, without much discrimination and no research, with a list of LA metal/hair bands that included Ratt, Poison, Warrant, W.A.S.P., Stryper — and L.A. Guns. Back in the day (I moved to LA in 1980), I encountered metal bands only unwillingly or unwittingly, by accident. Properly chastised by Abdo, I spent part of that night in headphones, listening to those bands for the first time in 30-40 years.
L.A. Guns first. Pretty decent hard rock band, I thought, but not remarkable. Traciiii is a hot guitar slinger and Phil Lewis a good vocalist. I listened to seven or eight songs and was getting a bit worn out, but when I tried on other bands on the list their singers were all god-awful and I was (un)lucky to get through even one song.
So Judy, and nephew Traciiiiii, I hereby apologize. L.A. Guns comes off the really bad bands list. Skid Row, climb aboard.
DON EVERLY died last Saturday at 84, preceded by his brother Phil seven years ago, Simon and Garfunkel patterned their harmonies after them, Paul worked with them on “Graceland” and said “they were the most beautiful sounding duo I ever heard,” and in one of their career slumps put them on tour as their opening act. When they came to Staples Center, I went more for the Everlys than S&G, and they were transcendent. Those harmonies.
I’ve loved them since “Bye Bye Love” hit number one in 1957. 26 Top 40 singles. Keith Richards called Don “one of the best rhythm guitar players.”
When you grow up singing with siblings or parents it’s called “blood harmony,” I learned, when my wife Diane Michelle named her first album that, singing with our daughter Nicole. The Chambers Brothers. The Andrews Sisters. The Beach Boys. Louvin Brothers, Statler Brothers, Lennon Sisters, the Judds, the Carter Family and SM’s own Peters Sisters..
CHARLIE WATTS passed Tuesday, at 80. Yeah, 80, and he was about to go on another world tour with those bad boys. I have lots to say about Charlie that I will try to get in next week, when I have more space. The tributes are just starting to pour in. Seems everyone agreed he was a gentleman and a scholar, and a sharp dressed man. He was in the Stones from the beginning, 58 years, and married to the same woman for 57. (Not making a judgment — really — but interesting the contrast, that Don Everly was married four times.)
TONIGHT! DUDAMEL CONDUCTS THE LA PHIL — Tchaikovsky’s “Fifth,” paired with Piazzola’s tango vision of Buenos Aires, his violin concerto homage to Vivaldi, “Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.” $8-127.
Friday and Saturday: Carlos Vives brought together the traditional sounds of Colombia with modern pop, rock and R&B, to the tune of two Grammys plus 15 Latin Grammys and millions of albums sold. Fri $16-164, Sat $22-178.
All performances 8 p.m. Hollywood Bowl.
TONIGHT! HAMILTON — No, I haven;t seen it, dammit, anyone want to treat me? But c’mon, I can only go wrong by not recommending it, right? 6:30 p.m., $55-200.
Friday – 8 p.m., $55-225
Saturday – 2 p.m., $75-449; 8 p.m., $55-449
Sunday – 2 p.m., $55-449
Tues, Wed, next Thurs, 8 p.m.,$55-369
All performances at Pantages Theater, Hollywood
WESTERNER, Ray Cholette, Leone — Westerner is a band I’ll go see anytime, especially when it’s as close as DTSM, but last time I saw them there first post-pandemic show, as a trio, not the same, doesn’t allow jumping hot frontman Cooper as much freedom to do his thang — Harvelle’s, Fri 9 p.m., DTSM, $10.
THEATRICUM BOTANICUM presents “THE LAST, BEST SMALL TOWN” — this moving, timely original with themes of racism, small town life, economic disparity, stereotypes, youthful rebellion, the value of education, family expectations and dynamics, East Coast-West Coast, rural-city, marriage and tradition — in other words, the human condition. Sat 7:30 p.m.
SHAKESPEARE’S “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM” — one of the best “AMND” I can recall (despite the flawed attempt to inject a little singing). Loved the inventive physical comedy and the fairies were really good; who could not be charmed by their little chirping sounds? Sun 4 p.m.,
SHAKESPEARE’S “JULIUS CAESAR” — Haven’t seen this one yet but TB is always solid especially with the Bard. “JC” is a bloody dose of political reality, from Imperial Rome to Elizabethan England to Trump-traumatized America. Sun 7:30 p.m.,
All performances TB. Topanga Canyon, #10-$26 general admission.
EM THE MASTER — I know, sounds pretentious… unless you can deliver and she does. I wrote a couple weeks ago about how knocked out I was by her show. Her original songs are excellent, the arrangements masterful, the band killer. She is a non-stop ball of frenetic but focused energy. Tues 9 p.m., Harvelle’s, DTSM, $10.
TONIGHT! HIGHLAND PARK INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL — See some great independent films on a big screen outside at Tierra De La Culebra Park! The mini-festival will feature four short films by different filmmakers, one of which is by SMC film student Osvaldo Ozuna, who has received multiple awards and numerous festival admissions for their film Muñecas that will be screened tonight. Free admission, free popcorn, and picnics encouraged. 8:30 p.m. gather, 9 p.m. showtime, Tierra De La Culebra, Highland Park.
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 34 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at email@example.com