Has been my favorite LA radio station (remember radio? In your car?) for years. (Not my daughters, so that tells you something.) They jut won the award for best Triple A (adult/album/alternative) format station in the country, and executive Sky Daniels was named #3 Influencer. No commercials. They’ve turned me on to a lot of new artists I now love. Ringmaster Nic Harcourt, who helmed KCRW for a decade But I left them decades ago, and I love what he plays at 88.5. I’m guessing he has fewer constraints there. KCRW has had a trendiness standard, from what I heard, that interferes with the best music. And they have the most complete concert listings anywhere, on their website.
I was so disappointed to miss HOT TUNA opening for Little Feat recently, but now they are coming to our own McCabe’s, oh boy!
TONIGHT! – ROBERT PLANT, ALISON KRAUSS – When I heard in 2007 that these two very different music stars had recorded an album together, my first thought was, well, I don’t see how that can work, Zeppelin bluegrass? It was neither and it worked beautifully, because their voices do blend mellifluously, the songs were terrific and the arrangements perfect for them. That was “Rising Sand” and their new one is “Raising the Roof” – they don’t, but it is a nice collection of oldies from the likes of Merle Haggard, Everly Brothers, Allen Toussaint, even little-known UK guitar virtuoso Bert Jansch – and who knows why they waited 14 years but they have done it again, T Bone Burnett again producing, they are touring, and their show should be memorable, maybe even a little magical. Thurs 7:30 p.m., Greek Theater, LA, $89-408..
TONIGHT! – HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MR. HITCHCOCK – SABOTEUR (1942) 4K restoration. Thurs, various times, Nuart Theater, WLA, $12.
“GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER” – This superb production, about race, love and family, sadly is every bit as relevant now as when Stanley Kramer’s Tracy-Hepburn classic film was released in 1967. Vincent Washington does a star turn in the giants hoes of Sidney Poitier, and Lee Garlington is very strong, tender and wise as the white mom/Hepburn. The adaptation is really interesting and makes its own fresh observations. Fri, Sat 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m. (all shows sold out but check for cancellations, or go next weekend, the final performances), Ruskin Group Theatre, SM Airport, $20-35.
TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND – Do pedigree and history mean anything? Listen to this band and you will have an answer. Derek Trucks is the nephew of Butch, co-founder and drummer of The Allman Brothers Band. Derek was recording and touring with blues rock bands since age 9, formed his own band at 17 (their first album won the GRAMMY for Best Blues album), and was officially made an Allman Brother Band member by age 20. I found him through a jaw-dropping video of him at 13 wailing slide guitar on “Layla,” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLQTbmUYI4A) with the ABBand backing him (slice master Duane Allman played the original for Derek & the Dominoes). Susan Tedeschi is a terrific blues shouter and guitar slinger and when her band played a gig with Trucks’, she found her perfect guitar player and did the smart thing and married him. Come watch the fireworks. And oh yeah – with Los Lobos. Fri 8 p.m., Greek Theatre.
THE HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES – Virtuosic breakneck Django-style swing music (but no room for swing dancing!) in the tiny Culver City dive celebrating 75 years. Every Mon 9 p.m., Cinema Bar, Culver City, no cover.
EM – An amazing performer in every way. For more details, see every recommendation I’ve made in this column for the last year. Every Tues 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $10.
THEATRICUM BOTANICUM – Everything they do is top rate, – acting, staging, costumes, writing, imagination. And often offering a banquet of food for thought. “THE MERRY WIVES of WINDSOR” oh lordy was I faced with writing a rare criticism of a TB show? The acts before intermission were so dry and confusing I wanted to run (blame the Bard for catering to his comedy audience who just l-o-v-e-d confused identities and genders) but the second half paid off in gold, and an inspired ‘50s setting adaptation allowed the injection of pop songs of the era that fit the narrative and were familiar and lots of fun, Fri 7:30 p.m., “TROUBLE THE WATER” is at the top of my list, a dramatization of the true story of a back Southerner who commandeered a Confederate warship, loaded his family on board and proceeded to bluff his way through checkpoints to escape to the North and add an important piece to the Union navy – Sat 7:30 p.m., “WESTSIDE WALTZ” features three generations of the Geer women who have kept this rare top shelf arts enterprise gong for many decades – Sun 7:30 p.m. All shows Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga Canyon, $10-60 (discounts for seniors, students, teachers, veterans, AEA, ages 5-15).
TOLEDO DIAMOND — The true hipster (when that sobriquet meant something way cool), choreographer to the stars, smoky svengali, showman supreme, Toledo always fascinates and pleases, if you are ready for the very different. Every Sun 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $12.
MELISSA ETHRIDGE: One Way Out Tour – Don’t know what to say here. It’s pretty hard to deny the exceptional voice, songwriting and guitar slashing over several decades of Ms. E. The Ford should be a good place to see her. Tues 8 p.m., The Ford, $60-80.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: “THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR” 8/28, 9/4, 9, 17, 25, “TROUBLE THE WATER” 8/26, 9/4, 11, 16, 24, “THE WESTSIDE WALTZ” 8/27, 9/3, 11, 18, 23, “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM,” 9/2, 5, 10, 18, 25, Theatricum Botanicum; “GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER,” Ruskin Group Theatre, 9/2, 3, 4; TOLEDO DIAMOND, Harvelle’s, 8/21, 28, 9/4, 11, 18, 25; HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, Cinema Bar, 8/22, 29, 9/5, 12, 19, 26; EM, Harvelle’s, 8/23, 30, 9/6, 13, 20, 27; STEVE EARLE & The Dukes, 8/23, 24; DIANA ROSS, Hollywood Bowl, 8/26, 27; BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA, Burton Chace Park, 8/27; GERALD CLAYTON-STEVE LEHMAN-JOEL ROSS, Sam First, 8/30; LA PHIL, BEETHOVEN’S 9TH, Hollywood Bowl, 8/30, 9/1; HERWAY TO HELL, Harvelle’s. 9/2; MOZART UNDER THE STARS, LA PHIL, Hollywood Bowl, 9/6; ALICIA KEYS, Greek Theater, 9/6, 7; WYNTON MARSALIS, Jazz at Lincoln Center, MANHATTAN TRASFER, Hollywood Bowl, 9/7, 8; CLASSIC CAR SHOW on The Pier, 9/10; ELIZA GILKYSON, NINA GERBER, McCabe’s, 9/16; I SEE HAWKS IN LA, Gandara Park concerts, 9/18; REGGAE NIGHT XX: UB40, THE WAILERS, 9/16; TINARIWEN, The Ford, 9/16; REDMAN-MEHLDAU- MCBRIDE-BLADE, The Soraya, 9/22; BONNIE RAITT with MAVIS STAPLES,, Greek Theater, 9/24; LITTLE WILLIE G, Gandara Park concerts, 9/25; GRACE JONES, Hollywood Bowl, 9/25; HERBIE HANCOCK, Hollywood Bowl, 9/28; PORCUPINE TREE, Greek Theater, 9/30.
Charles Andrews has listened to a lot of music of all kinds, including more than 3,000 live shows. He has lived in Santa Monica for 36 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at firstname.lastname@example.org