TONIGHT! – MAHLER, DUDAMEL – It’s the LA Philharmonic, it’s Dudamel, and he’s conducting one of his very favorite mighty composers. Don’t fret that this is Mahler’s 1st Symphony: he started out on the mountaintop and just kept offering very different versions of genius, heart and soul. Thurs, Fri, Sat 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA, $20-232.
SOUTHSIDE SLIM – Southside comes north to us only so often and it is always an event not to be missed. His career history is intertwined with my other favorite local bluesman, Ray Bailey, who years ago mentored young Hank and directed him towards the rockier side of the blues. Good move Ray, because today Southside is no gentle blues crooner and picker – he rocks it hard with both guitar and vocals. On tour he has brought festival crowds to their feet cheering. When he ran into hard times he prevailed upon his father to let him live in his South LA trucking company yard and he woodshedded at least six hours a day perfecting his understanding and playing of the blues, by listening carefully to the masters. Then he would trot off at night to the original Babe’s & Ricky’s on Central Avenue, and the Safari Club and various backyard juke joints in the neighborhood. He knew he was in the right place at the right time and that education has resulted in the hard-rockin’ blues master you can cheer for yourself, right here in Santa Monica. Fri 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s. Santa Monica, $10.
LA OPERA, “LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR” – Modern Midwest marriage, madness,murder. I’m sorry I couldn’t see this until last Sunday so I could have raved about it earlier. But I did have a feeling and I did make it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED sight unheard. You gamble, and sometimes you win. Everything about this production is outstanding. The chorus vocals, the acting, the uniformly gorgeous Donezetti score so well played by the orchestra under new Resident Conductor Lina Gonzales-Granados, the gamble to update the story 200 years to modern times and use a camcorder live on stage at times, projected onto a screen above. The principal vocalists, particularly soprano Liv Redpath and tenor Arturo Chacon-Cruz, were extremely strong and jaw-droppingly great. The three hours plus goes swiftly because there are no weak or slow parts, a credit to everyone from Donizetti on down. The plot adapted well to a modern setting because, unlike some operas, the story line was all believable and not rooted in old ways of thinking that require “translation” by modern music lovers. This portends well for an LA Opera season ripe with chestnuts and very promising new fruit. If you go this Sunday, and you certainly should, you might consider a last-minute season subscription. I see nothing but excellence and delight ahead. Final performance Sun 2 p.m., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, LA, $24-325.
THE HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES – Breakneck, virtuosic 1930s Django-style swing music in the cozy Culver City dive (almost 75 years old) with live music almost every night and never a cover charge. It’s gigs like this that make putting up with the bad side of Santa Monica worth it. Mon 9 p.m., Cinema Bar, Culver City, no cover.
EM – She’s still amazing. But nothing good lasts forever, you know. Don’t push your luck. So why not go this Tuesday night? Betcha, you’ll thank me. Tues 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $10.
LIBRARY GIRL – Well, isn’t this timely with today’s headlines: Library Girl and Poet Laureate of West Hollywood, Brian Sonia-Wallace, present “Revolution Is Not A One-Time Event” (tribute to Audre Lorde). Celebrating LGBTQ+ International History Month. Featuring Dorothy Randall Gray, Nate’Eya Kahsai, Michael Kearns, Frankie Tan, Tee, Brian Sonia-Wallace, Victor Yates. But then, isn’t great poetry always timely and timeless? Sun 7 p.m., Ruskin Group Theatre, Santa Monica Airport, $20 (includes free dessert, free parking).
TOLEDO DIAMOND — The true hipster (when that sobriquet meant something way cool), choreographer to the stars, smoky Svengali, showman supreme. Toledo and his unquestionably unique show always pleases, if you are ready for the very different. Every Sun 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $12.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: HOT TUNA, McCabes, 10/14, 15; TOLEDO DIAMOND, Harvelle’s, 10/16, 23, 30 ; HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, Cinema Bar, 10/17, 24; 31; EM, Harvelle’s, 10/11, 18, 25; MISTY COPELAND (speaking), Saban Theatre, 10/16; “SHADES OF DJANGO,” Pepperdine Smothers Theater, 10/23; DANNY ELFMAN Halloween Shows, Hollywood Bowl, 10/28, 29; SOWETO GOSPEL CHOIR, The Soraya, 10/29; RICK SHEA, , TONY GILKYSON, CINDY BERRYHILL Songwriters Showcase, McCabe’s, 10/30; CHAKA KHAN, Disney Hall, 10/30; HERWAY TO HELL, Harvelle’s, 10/31; THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI with organ, Disney Hall, 10/31; PONCHO SANCHEZ, Canyon Santa clarita, 11/4; JEFF BECK, Orpheum Theater, 11/6 (also Thousand Oaks, Anaheim, Temecula); LYLE LOVETT, JOHN HIATT, The Soraya, 11/9; RHIANNON GIDDENS, Disney Hall, 11/12; ALBERT LEE, McCabe’s, 11/12; NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON, Saban Theatre, 11/13; ELTON JOHN, Dodger Stadium, 11/17, 19, 20.
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 email@example.com