NOTEWORTHY: Michael Tilson Thomas, Mahler. Photo courtesy LA PHIL




There is lot of agreement among aficionados that it was probably their best ever, maybe even any group’s best ever. That’s an emotional judgment, impossible to prove, but.. Hey, it’s got my vote. I was there in Albuquerque, up front and dazzled, I guess unlike any show before or after. And that’s from a menu of more than 3,000, right?

I’m sure there are several books that document that historic tour, but a new one, from British music journalist Richard Houghton, takes a different, uniquely revealing approach. He solicited comments from fans who were at those shows. Some of them are short throw offs but some longer and really worth reading.

The title is “ALL DOWN THE LINE,” by Richard Houghton. I just got it in the mail yesterday but I’ll pass along more info when I get it.


MAHLER’S NINTH, LA PHIL, MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS conducting — Last fall I experienced Beethoven’s Ninth by the LA Phil, possibly the greatest piece of music ever written, and now we have a very special Mahler’s Ninth, which you do not want to miss.

There’s a whole fascinating link to Gustav Mahler’s relationship to Beethoven – partly, Mahler and other composers considered Beethoven and his Ninth on such a mountaintop that no other composer could ever reach, and maybe no one should even try to write more symphonies than eight. But I’ll let you look that up. And you should: context can add a lot in listening to great music of any era or genre.

Here’s some more context. MTT is associated with several great orchestras, but he was principal guest conductor of the LA Phil when I moved here, 1981-85. He is known as one of the foremost interpreters of Mahler, a giant. He famously stormed off stage at the Hollywood Bowl when a police helicopter disrupted his Mahler’s Eighth. A few years later he returned for another Eighth, turned to the audience and asked, “Now, where were we?”

More reason to be at this performance: it should not even be happening. In 2019 MTT underwent heart surgery, and last year announced that a brain tumor surgery would curtail his performances. But here he is. Read up on the Ninth too before you go. It is easily dismissed as Mahler’s foreshadowing of his own death (something he was preoccupied with), but it is much more complex than that. Fri, Sat 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, $64-221.

THE HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES – 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. Hot Club’s brand of virtuoso, breakneck 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 bucks cover, and worth waiting a year for. 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.

EM – She’s back! One of the most gifted and dynamic entertainers you will ever see. Really! Go see her and then tell me I’m lyin’. After a little break she might even be over the top with energy and new creativity, so, now’s the time! Tues 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, $12.


JACK WHITE, MUSE, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, others – I’m sure I’ll get some sniggers of contempt over listing this show, but Muse (a trio!) is one of the best live shows I’ve seen. Jack White — here we go, some hard-bitten contempt headed my way – although I haven’t seen him live for a while, I still feel is one of the most creative musician-producers around, and a phenomenal guitar player. (I’m not alone in that: go watch “It Might Get Loud,” one of my favorite music films.) The RHC Peppers? OK, I understand your disdain here and can’t much defend myself, but I still have vivid memories of seeing them in some of their first shows, at the truly legendary Lingerie club in Hollyweird, where they blew jaded hipster minds that sneered at nearly everything. I would expect still to hear stellar guitar, and bass, from Flea, and isn’t that worth it? So here’s the deal: the only way I’d go is if those two acts play last and I can entirely skip every note of Fall Out Boy, Phoenix, Beach Weather, Rosa Linn, and CHVRCHES. Okay, I’ll take maybe half an hour of RHCP, just to see what they’re up to. Sat 7 p.m., Kia Forum, $88-1014.

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 funky but 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 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 groove, 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: MONTEREY JAZZ FESTIVAL ON TOUR with KURT ELLING, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Lakecia Benjamin, Christian Sands, Yasushi Nakamura, Clarence Penn, Disney Hall, 1/20;LA OPERA, “THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA,” Zipper Hall, 1/20; TOLEDO DIAMOND, Harvelle’s, 1/22, 29; HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, Cinema Bar, 1/23, 30; EM, Harvelle’s, 1/24, 31; AX – MA – KAVAKOS, Disney Hall, 1/28; P-22 CELEBRATION OF LIFE, Greek Theater, 2/4; EMMANUEL AX, Disney Hall, 2/1.

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 37 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at