TONIGHT! – STEWART COPELAND: “POLICE Deranged for Orchestra” — I’m always leery of rock music “orchestrated,” but with Police founder Copeland (“one of the greatest drummers of all time” sez Rolling Stone, and I’m not going to argue), composer of film soundtracks, ballets, operas and orchestral music, helming this project and behind the kit, with guitar, bass, three singers and a 28-piece orchestra making a joyful noise of the outstanding catalog Police songs we all know but have never heard like this, this sounds really interesting, worth the drive and the price, I’m betting. Tonight! Thurs 8 p.m., The Soraya, CSUN Northridge, $41-168.
RAY BAILEY — LA, home to so many famous musicians, right? Well, not as many as you might think. What about blues musicians, the really good ones? A very short list. Watts-born Ray Bailey is the real deal, took up piano when he was two, switched to guitar at 14 and soon was accompanying big names (LaVerne Baker, Big Joe Turner, Ruth Brown, Lowell Fulson, Horace Tapscott) passing through. He doesn’t come out to play very often these days, so you should definitely take advantage. Bailey can play literally any style and you will hear influences and pieces, but mostly you will hear down home blues. He was a staple for decades at the legendary Babe’s and Ricky’s in Leimert Park, and this show is just around the corner, at the World Stage. Sit back and hear how it used to be done, and still should be. Fri 8 p.m., The World Stage, Leimert Park, 8 p.m., free (donation requested – please do!)
THEATRICUM BOTANICUM presents — OK, now you’ve done it, waited until the last two performances when you had all summer, all summer I’ve been telling you, every dang week, to go enjoy this superb theater company in a sylvan setting in Topanga Canyon. What were you doing, watching Netflix? Just go. To both shows.
“THE LAST, BEST SMALL TOWN,” an outstanding original by local playwright John Guerra. Sat 4 p.m.
SHAKESPEARE’S “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM’’ is a delight, love the fairies. Sun 4 p.m. Both performances TB, Topanga Canyon, $10-60.
LA OPERA presents WAGNER’S “TANNHÄUSER” — Last chance! Come ON, people! If you had stayed in Topeka or Tucumcari you would not have this opportunity, so don’t sit at home and miss out. It is most spectacular, from the spellbinding opening notes of the accomplished orchestra, to the red-lit orgy ballet at Venus’s subterranean pad of passion, to the thunderous experience of six heavyweight vocalists belting it out in joyous unison. Using 145 cast and musicians to present Wagner’s spectacle of sin and salvation, of a knight returning to the surface world after a year of debauchery with the goddess of love in her underworld Playgirl Mansion, to pursue the woman of virtue he now desires — can he do it? He doesn’t seem totally on board, at first. Tannhäuser’ is “widely regarded as one of the most majestic, sublime, and moving of all operas.” Sounds right to me. Lead Issachah Savage is considered a “heldentenor,” or “heroic tenor,” bringing that voice and stagecraft to one of the most challenging roles in opera. Sara Jakubiak as the good girl Elizabeth he hopes to woo and win, displays a stunning soprano. Like most operas written in a very different era, you have to check your modernity at the door. These are knights, without an ounce of armor but many pounds of warrior encumberment? And why the obsession with and love for that Great Hall, which seems like any Moose Lodge? Don’t ask, just soak it in. Wagner was some musical dude, and this production shows you why. Sat 7:30 p.m., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, DTLA, $23-292.
CELSO SALIM & DARRYL CARRIERE — Carriere blows a runaway train harmonica and whiskey-rough, high- octane vocals, and Salim’s one hella blues shouter himself and plays enough guitar for an army. They are wailin’ and moanin’down on Main Street every Sunday, right next to Ashland Hill, but don’t procrastinate, it’s getting colder and blues men always move on down the road. Every Sun 3-5 p.m., parking lot adjacent to Ashland Hill, Main Street, free.
EM THE MASTER — I’ve been giving EM’s show a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for months now and still do. “The Master”? Too much hype on the marquee? Not if you can back it up, and EM does. She sings, dances, has dancers. She crawls across the floor like a reptile, gripping the mic and never missing a beat. She doesn’t play the piano, she attacks it. Uses her voice as an instrument in creative ways. Her energy is nonstop and seemingly limitless. Writes terrific songs perfect for her act, and she may remind you some of a more energetic Lady Gaga. Every Tues 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, DTSM, $10.
An Evening with DAVID SEDARIS — Although their styles of presentation are certainly different, I think Mark Twain would have been in the audience for this if he had lived another 112 years. Sedaris not only thinks and writes sharply, cleverly, and with great insight and humor, he has the presentation of a master monologist, as did Clemens, whereby the shine of the perfectly-chosen words is amplified by the way he delivers them. You don’t mind a croaky voice, do you? Sedaris could read the phone book (wait — what’s a phone book?) and have you on the floor. Wed 8 p.m., The Soraya, CSUN Northridge, $41-109.
TONIGHT! – HAMILTON — I think I can only go wrong by not recommending it, from what I’ve heard and read. Tonight Thurs, Fri, Sat, Tues, Wed, next Thurs 8 p.m., Sun 1 p.m., 6:30 p.m., also Sat 2 p.m., Pantages Theater, Hollywood, $49-3000+, depending on date/time.
THE TOLEDO SHOW — There is little in this life you can count on, especially in the world of live music, but two of them are: Toledo Diamond 1) showing up at Harvelle’s every Sunday night, without fail, for 20 years, and 2) delivering a great show. Bet the ranch. I had not seen him for a while so figured Halloween was a good bet, since his smoky stage set and antics are kind of dark and mysterious every week. I’m now in my fourth decade of being entertained by The Toledo Show, stretching back to off-Sunset Strip beginnings, and the show and his band have only gotten better over the years. He’s in demand literally worldwide, but just because he’s been a fixture here in SM every Sunday night, doesn’t mean you should put it off any longer. Two reasons: 1) once you go, you will want to go back, and 2) nothing lasts forever, especially the good stuff. Every Sun 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, DTSM, $12.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: HARVELLE’S Celebrates Jason & Damian’s 4-Year Anniversary there, with THE DAMN WELL PLEASE ORGAN TRIO, Harvelle’s, 11/12; PACIFIC OPERA PROJECT’s HANSEL AND GRETEL, Forest Lawn Glendale, 11/13-14, 20-21; LIBRARY GIRL, Ruskin Group Theater, 11/14; MARTHA GRAHAM DANCE COMPANY, The Soraya, 11/14; COUNT BASIE ORCHESTRA, The Soraya, 11/17; 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 email@example.com