Composer: Gustav Mahler. Courtesy photo


TONIGHT! – DUDAMEL conducts MAHLER’S 4T — oh boy do I love Mahler and so does our LA Phil Music Director Gustavo, it is one of his areas of great passion and recognition, when he won the first ever Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition in 2004 at age 23 it brought him worldwide attention, all the top orchestras were wooing him, and it had a lot to do with his appointment just a few years later to lead our LA Philharmonic (he was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2009), and did you know Mahler was considered one of the best conductors of his time? We’ll have to wait until next March for another Mahler, the 7th, Thur-Sat 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, DTLA, $20-227.

X, BLASTERS, Horrorpops — I might have been a little gun shy on this one if I hadn’t seen X, after many years, at the Teragram Ballroom a couple years ago, Exene is still a gun-totin’ tin foiler whose blog posits that people aren’t leaving their jobs, they are being replaced by androids, and the mighty Billy Zoom no longer shreds his guitar from a near-splits rock and roll stance but sits on a stool and looks almost unrecognizable — but who cares, he still plays like a monster and Exene is still a phenomenon leading that iconic LA band, at 65 maybe as good as she ever was, and the Blasters? I promise they will make you see rockabilly heaven, Greek Theater, LA, Sat 7 p.m., $19-79.

EM THE MASTER + ANGELO MOORE’s Dr Madd Vibe & The Missin’ Links — I’ve been giving EM’s show a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for months now and still do, but this night you get a big bonus when the above-named musical chaos merchants join her to open. Angelo was the founding lead singer and sax player for the groundbreaking, crazy great Fishbone, you may have caught his previous conglomeration Trulio Disgracious, he’s also a published poet and his dad played sax for Count Basie. Do not miss this one. Tues 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, DTSM, $12.

PETER ERSKINE TRIO — It may be an odd thing but I am usually satisfied “experiencing” a great performer or band once or twice, but there are a handful of exceptions and jazz drummer Peter Erskine is one, any time I can see him without buying a plane ticket, I’m there. He started playing drums at age 4, joined Stan Kenton’s band at 18, then Maynard Ferguson, then Weather Report with Jaco Pastorius — now, that’s a rhythm section — Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Diana Krall, now more than 700 albums and soundtracks, it’s best to get up close because Erskine plays so gracefully and without flash, melodically, like a gifted classical pianist, in such a captivating style, and Sam First, an intimate jazz club near LAX, is the perfect place for that. He’s got a first-class trio here with Alan Pasqua on piano, Derek Oles on bass. Next Thurs, 7:30 and 9 p.m., Sam First, LAX, $25.


TONIGHT! HAMILTON — Nope, nope, still haven’t caught it –hey, I’ve got poetry readings and phenom jugglers on my busy calendar — but I think I can only go wrong by not recommending it, from what I’ve heard and read. Tonight, Fri, Sat, Tues, Wed, next Thurs 8 p.m., Sun 1 p.m., 6:30 p.m., also Sat 2 p.m., all performances at Pantages Theater, Hollywood, $49-3000+, depending on date/time.


Familiarity breeds contempt, they say, but just because you have gotten used to seeing these three plays RECOMMENDED in this column week after week means only this: it’s a shortened season so I got to see them all first thing, reassuring myself that each lives up to the company’s sterling decades-long reputation, so why wouldn’t I recommend them every week? There is always a lot of good theater going on in LA, but these three are each as good as you will find.

Seeing them perched there every week in NOTEWORTHY through a long summer may mean you keep putting it off. Don’t. You don’t want to miss any of them and time is running out and the days will soon get shorter and the nights chillier, so just go now.

“THE LAST, BEST SMALL TOWN” — this moving, timely original with themes of racism, small town life, youthful rebellion, tradition — set in a small town that both nurtures and stultifies. Great acting, but you could say that about everything TB does. This is a world class company. Sat 7:30 p.m.

SHAKESPEARE’S “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM” — one of the best “AMND” I can recall. Loved the inventive physical comedy, and these fairies are show stealers; who could not be charmed by their little chirping sounds? Sun 4 p.m.

SHAKESPEARE’S “JULIUS CAESAR” — historically informative, makes ancient political drama seem contemporary. All politics are local politics, right? Every word shimmers, due to the delivery and acting of the TB thespians. Christopher W. Jones stood out as conflicted bad guy Brutus, as did Willow Geer as Portia, with special linguistic laurels to Melora Marshall as Cassius, who was just made for this role, even though it is a man’s part. She pulls you straight in, to the moment. Sun 7:30 p.m.

All performances TB, Topanga Canyon, $10-60.

LA OPERA presents WAGNER’S “TANNHÄUSER” — no shrinking violet nor master of the minuet, Wagner always goes big (and that’s why Hollywood loves his tunes) and this is archetypal Wagner, with LA Opera using 145 cast and musicians to present his sin and salvation spectacle of a knight deciding it’s time to get back to the real world, to normalcy, morality, and what is expected of a knight, and to pursue the woman of virtue he desires after a year of debauchery with Venus in her underworld Playgirl Mansion, “trapped” he was, he said — can he do it?

“‘Tannhäuser’ is widely regarded as one of the most majestic, sublime, and moving of all operas,” I’m told, and who am I to argue, there are still a couple I haven’t seen yet. Lead Issachah Savage is considered a “heldentenor,” or “heroic tenor,” well, when you own it and bring your voice to one of the most challenging roles in opera, it’s pretty likely you can back it up, and I can’t wait, Sun 2 p.m., Wed 7:30 p.m., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, DTLA, $19-292.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: LA OPERA ORCHESTRA plays live soundtrack to horror film “GET OUT”, The Theater at Ace Hotel, 10/29-31; MONTY ALEXANDER, Catalina Jazz Club, 10/29-30; LIBRARY GIRL, Ruskin Group Theater, 11/14; LA OPERA presents ROSSINI’S “CINDERELLA.” Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 11/20-12/12; THE SKATALITES, The Venice West, 12/3; PONCHO SANCHEZ and His Latin Jazz Band, Catalina Jazz Club, 12/10-12; JOHN MAYALL, WALTER TROUT, Saban Montclair, 12/12; X, BLASTERS, HENRY FONDA, 12/16; MUSICARES honors JONI MITCHELL, LA Convention Center, 1/29/22.

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