JUST ONE YEAR!
My year, anyway, but it could have been yours too. All you have to do is read NOTEWORTHY every Thursday in the Santa Monica Daily Press, mark your calendar, and go. You’ll probably bump into me at one of these glorious affairs, but – don’t let that stop you.
So here are my favorite shows of the year, in pretty much reverse chronological order, with few explanations or addenda. If you are not familiar with a lot of these names, well, whose fault is that? Not mine.
But not even I can get to all LA has to offer so I made another list of the shows that almost certainly have made the cut, but for one reason or another I missed the boat. I’ll try harder but I do pretty good y’all for someone past 60 or even 70 and definitely past my bedtime. (Just kidding on that one – my philosophy is, you can sleep when you’re dead. The band is rockin’!)
If I had to choose THE BEST OF THE BEST, it might be:
“GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER” at the RUSKIN THEATRE, LA PHIL, BEETHOVEN’S 9TH, KURT ELLING, “TROUBLE THE WATER” by THEATRICUM BOTANICUM, “LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR” by LA OPERA, PETER ERSKINE, ALAN PASQUA, DAREK OLES TRIO, HOT TUNA, SOUNDS OF LA at The Getty with 120,000 Stories from NOBUKO MIYAMOTO, tabla master SALAR NADER (with STANLEY CLARKE), andHālau Hula Kealiʻi o Nālani & Daniel Ho, Tribute Concert for AIRTO, JEFF BECK, CELSO & DARRYL, EM. MAVIS STAPLES, THE HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, SOUTHSIDE SLIM.
The BEST OF THE REST?
LA PHIL with Michael Tilson Thomas, Symphonic ELLINGTON, “New World A-Comin” with GERALD CLAYTON, BARBARA MORRISON, TOM BROSSEAU, THE ENGLISH BEAT, LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III, MOZART’S “GREAT MASS IN C” with LA PHIL, ZUBIN MEHTA, TOPANGA BANJO FIDDLE CONTEST & FOLK FESTIVAL, RAY BAILEY BIRTHDAY BLUES BASH with SOUTHSIDE SLIM, LIBRARY GIRL 13TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW, DAMN WELL PLEASE ORGAN TRIO Mardi Gras with DARIUS HOLBERT, TOLEDO DIAMOND.
And these would surely have made the cut, but, I wasn’t able to go. (Lazy man!)
BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA, LOVE, COLIN BLUNSTONE, DAKHA BRAKHA, DAVID SEDARIS, TAJ MAHAL, WILLIE NELSON & Family, KACEY MUSGRAVES, JASON ISBELL and the 400 Unit, Old OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW,The COMPTON COWBOYS, Tribute to PEGGY and FRANK with BILLIE EILISH, DEBBY HARRY, SETH MCFARLANE, DIANNE REEVES, BETTYE LAVETTE, JEFF“SKUNK” BAXTER, “CARMINA BURANA” with LA PHIL, DUDAMEL, LA MASTER CHORALE, JOHN FOGERTY, LITTLE FEAT, HOT TUNA, BOOKER T. JONES, TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND, ROBERT PLANT, ALISON KRAUSS, VAN DYKE PARKS, GABY MORENO, GRACE JONES, BONNIE RAITT with MAVIS STAPLES, REDMAN-MEHLDAU- MCBRIDE-BLADE, DUDAMEL, LA PHIL THE TRISTAN PROJECT: I, II, III, X, LOS STRAIGHTJACKETS, THE AVENGERS.
Just look at that quality and variety! IS THIS A GREAT MUSIC TOWN OR WHAT?!
And now for this week’s meager recommendations.
I WARNED YOU
In this column a couple weeks ago that the December drought of good live shows was approaching, and here you go. So it is the perfect time to take advantage of what there is and has always been but you kept putting off and now…? No excuse. You’re lucky these superb musicians and entertainers are so reliably here week after week, on a Sunday and a Monday night. Choose how you use your time; either go, or make an appointment with your shrink to figure out why you don’t treat yourself better.
THE HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES – Don’t get lazy. 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 not even a foot high and right next to the patrons, drinks are reasonable and there is no cover. But their brand of virtuoso, breakneck speed Django-style 1930s gypsy swing jazz is found nowhere else and even if it was it couldn’t possibly be this good. It’s a show worth 50 or 60 bucks cover. These guys are masters, individually and collectively. You will find it hard to stop smiling all night. Mon 9 p.m., Cinema Bar, Culver City, no cover.
TOLEDO DIAMOND – Unique, riveting, first class act. Just trot your procrastinating carcass down this Sunday night and see what you’ve been missing. Choreographer to the biggest stars, his stage show is finely crafted. His persona is unique; octaves-low growl vocalizing that is ‘50s hipster poet meshed with ghetto cool. His band just keeps getting better and better and are worth the show themselves. And The Dames? – well I remember back when he was on Sunset Strip that we were still taken by surprise when a young woman seemed so moved by the moment that she slid to the dance floor to gyrate to the grooves, progressing (by Diamond design of course) to a featured dance number. even incorporating chairs, table and bar tops, and unsuspecting patrons as props. With Toledo barely noticing and never skipping a beat. There’s nothing like it, it is high performance art and great fun, and he’s been doing it at Harvelle’s every dang Sunday night for more than two decades, no misses, even when he had to fly back from making a film in France. Rarely is degeneracy so well disciplined. Sun 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $12.
COMING ATTRACTIONS:ENGLISH BEAT, Bourbon Room, 12/30; NYE: THE ROOTS, Disney Concert Hall; TOLEDO DIAMOND, Harvelle’s, 1/1, 8, 15, 22, 29; HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, Cinema Bar, 1/2, 9, 16, 23, 30;Celso Salim & Darryl Carriere, Harvelle’s, 1/5; BEETHOVEN’S NINTH, LA PHIL, MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS, Disney Concert Hall, 1/13, 14, 15; EM, Harvelle’s, 1/17. 24, 31; AX – MA – KAVAKOS, Disney Concert Hall, 1/28.
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