Love: Down South. Courtesy photo

IF YOU WERE SURPRISED 

That my NOTEWORTHY column was not published last week – so was I. I was out of town and so was reliable Editor in Chief Matt Hall and neither of us know what happened, but I apologize. I know a lot of readers who take advantage of the cornucopia of arts LA has to offer, plan their adventures from my research and recommendations. It didn’t even appear online until Monday afternoon, too late for Thursday-Sunday events. The SM Daily Press does such a good job with such a small staff, getting a newspaper out every day, that the occasional screw up is startling but rare.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:  

LOVE – 55 years of “Forever Changes,” on nearly everyone’s list of the 10 Best Rock Albums Ever, so I’m sure they’ll be playing some or maybe all of it. Not that the rest of their material is shabby. I’m always skeptical of long-ago famous bands continuing to limp along with only one original member in need of maintaining that old rock and roll excess lifestyle, but LOVE is a sterling exception. The original member is founding guitarist Johnny Echols, and years ago he wisely glommed onto an outstanding band, Baby Lemonade, including SM locals Mike Randle and Rusty Squeezebox, who could play the albums and singles note for note, knowing that a lot of fans knew every note and loved it that way and probably wouldn’t be as receptive to messing with perfection. When they recreated that LP start to finish, including horns and strings, at the Moose Lodge here in Santa Monica some years ago, it was one of the best concerts I have ever experienced. Yup, just up the street on Ocean Park. Now, you’re going to have to go all the way to Costa Mesa, and I would rarely do that to you but yes, this show will be worth it, I guarantee you. They’ve packed the house in London for just this show, and that’s a lot farther drive. (I’ll be sending you to CM again next week for Mavis Staples, another of a rare few worth that trouble.) Tell Johnny I sent you, and tell him to come back to the Moose Lodge. I promise I’ll pack that show again. Note the early start time. Sun 6 p.m., The Wayfarer, Costa Mesa, $15. 

THE HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES – I have to confess: I’m not at their show every Monday night. But I should be. Don’t get lazy, Charles. It’s just outside Santa Monica, street parking is easy, it’s a friendly little neighborhood bar where you can see and hear everywhere in the tiny room, the sound is great, the stage is maybe a foot high and right next to the patrons, drinks are reasonable and there is no cover. THCOLA plays breakneck, virtuoso 1930s Django-style swing music. You will find it hard to stop smiling all night. Mon 9 p.m., Cinema Bar, Culver City, no cover.

EM – She’s unique, compelling, and right here in Santa Monica. You will be mesmerized. By her piano pounding, singing, songs (mostly her own), her hot band and how she orchestrates them, her unbelievable energy and passion, her insightful ballads, her dancing and cavorting off the stage while never missing a note, and did I mention she had a book, co-written with Lady Gaga, on the NYT bestseller list? Tues 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $10.

RECOMMENDED: 

LA OPERA, PUCCINI’S “TOSCA” – My friend Fay, growing up in Beverly Hills and now living near the Santa Fe Opera for many years, has seen a lot of operas, and when I told her yesterday that we would be seeing “Tosca” Thursday night she exclaimed, “Oh, I love ‘Tosca!’ It’s my favorite!” A common reaction, it seems, and this LA Opera production has certainly been raking in the praise since it opened Nov. 19, an unusually long run. A lot of the attention and praise has gone to LA’s own GRAMMY-winning soprano Angel Blue. There is a reason Giacomo Puccini is considered a master and we are still thrilled with his stories and music, and the enduring popularity of “Tosca” testifies to that. You don’t want to miss this one. One should always put a rein on expectations when it comes to the arts (and life, really), but my best guess is that next week, after I’ve experienced “Tosca,” it will elevate here to HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Thurs 7:30 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, LA, $34 – 399.

SAMANTHA FISH, JESSE DAYTON –too much going on this Sunday! But that’s a whole lot better than too little. If Costa Mesa (see above) is too far even for greatness, this show at the venerable Whisky on Sunset Strip should rock your soul. This is an unusual recommendation from me in that I have never seen either performer in person but have been aware of them for years, through reputation and videos. I usually don’t have the time or patience to watch a lot of videos for a guess at a recommendation, but just a few did it for me. Fish may become your new favorite blues rock guitarist. And Dayton will likely make an instant fan of you, from his first growl or scream and a guitar run you may have never before heard. The Whisky website gives you a lot of good info: “The two will share the stage ripping through their vast catalogs as well as music by The Clash, Townes Van Zant, Magic Sam, and new originals inspired by this event. The ZipGuns  open with a 35 min. set.“ Credit to FB friend Pamela Dawson, the gorgeous, naughty, rockin’, hula hoopin’, dog lovin’, Best Memes TX cowgirl who always gives Dayton’s concerts a plug and seems to attend every one. Good job Pamela, you got me hooked. Sun 7 p.m., Whisky A Go Go, West Hollyweird, $30-800.

THE LAST WALTZ TOUR 2022 – oh right, how many of the original performers from that legendary San Francisco show climaxing The Band’s storied career are here? None? But they will probably play some of the Last Waltz songs, right? Ordinarily this would elicit a disgruntled “feh!” from me, but for a very saving grace:  The performers: Jamey Johnson, Warren Haynes, Kathleen Edwards, Anders Osborne, Taj Mahal. Good players, but just the first and the last are worth the ticket, playing anything. Sun 8 p.m., Orpheum Theater, LA, $59 – 193. 

LIQUID KITTY PUNK ROCK BBQ – It’s back! Relive your punk day with five bands and free admission, free hot dogs and cheap beer, on a sunny Sunday afternoon you’ll spend in the dark. Perfect. Sun 12 – 5:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica,  no cover.

TOLEDO DIAMOND — Who’s going to die first, you, or Toledo Diamond before you catch his unique, riveting, first class act. “Dang!” you’ll exclaim when you read the news that at 96 his choreographer’s legs finally went, and the rest of him just couldn’t soldier on. “Every Sunday night for half a century, he was just around the corner here in downtown Santa Monica,” you’ll moan, “at Harvelle’s, for only 12 bucks and still I never saw him! Major life regret.” So just trot your procrastinating carcass down this Sunday night and see what you’ve been missing. Sun 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $12.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: “TOSCA,” LA OPERA , Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 12/7, 10; TOLEDO DIAMOND, Harvelle’s, 12/11, 18; HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, Cinema Bar, 12/12, 19, 26; EM, Harvelle’s, 12/13, 20, 27; DUDAMEL, THE TRISTAN PROJECT: I,II,III, Disney Hall, 12/9. 10. 11. 15, 16, 17; MAVIS STAPLES, Segerstrom Concert Hall, 12/9; LA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA Tribute to Lucha Libre!, GIL SHAHAN, Ambassador Auditorium, 12/11; BILLIE EILISH, Kia Forum, 12/13, 15, 16; X, Orpheum Theater, 12/16; STEVIE WONDER, Microsoft Theater, 12/17; MAVERICKS, JD MCPHERSON, Theatre at Ace Hotel, 12/17; ENGLISH BEAT, Bourbon Room, 12/30; NYE: LA PHIL with The ROOTS.

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 therealmrmusic@gmail.com