NFL RANT – in a music column? I’ll keep it brief.
I’m not a fan of football, now recognized by nearly everyone as dangerous, and violent, but I do check out the halftime entertainment at the Super Duper Bowl. Even when it’s someone whose music has never moved me, like Rihanna. But her fans seemed to think she knocked it out of the park (and while knocked up, and flying on platforms way up in the sky – pretty spectacular)
But two observations, and one question. Four years ago Rihanna courageously turned down the tempting Super Bowl offer because of the league’s inherent racism and crass commercialism over social conscience, as epitomized by their treatment of star Colin Kaepernick for protesting racism by taking a knee.. So, what changed, Rihanna? Nothing of substance in the NFL, though they have tried mightily to convince us otherwise,
But in watching just a little I was reminded how very hyper-macho and red white and blue the NFL is. A sport and league that is filled with violent, military terminology – blitz, aerial attack, throw a bomb – has gotten even more so, I believe. No wonder there as no place for a Kaepernick, who will nonetheless be remembered far beyond his accomplishment on the field.
My favorite part of the show? Chris Stapleton playing just one bluesy electric guitar and sing the soul out of the national anthem (which should be changed to “America the Beautiful”).
TONIGHT!- MOZART’S “THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO,” LA OPERA – Don’t give me any excuses. You’ve always wanted to see if the LA Opera is as good as I have been preaching for years, so what better way to check it out than with a new production of the master Mozart’s renowned “Figaro,” for crying out loud. Only one more performance after these. I haven’t yet seen it but hope to. I cringed a little when I started to read Mark Swed’s review of it in the LA Times because I trust him as a classical and especially opera critic, but after some initial misgivings 90% of his review was a rave, so, we should both go, eh? Thurs, next Thurs 7:30 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, LA, $49-399.
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. (But there is no room for swing dancers unless you want to go out on the sidewalk.) Hot Club’s brand of virtuoso, sometimes 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.
Mardi Gras in Santa Monica with the DAMN WELL PLEASE ORGAN TRIO – The beads, the Hurricanes, King cake, NOLA beers, and the friendly staff and revelers celebrating as though Lent starts the next morning are all great but what I wait all year for is a rare appearance by musical magic man, Pied Piper Darius, also known as the DWPOT, which is not per se a trio but I have seen as many as two dozen, yes dozen, players on that small stage, taking their turns under the leadership of the organ grinder to give us the Jam of all Jams. Don’t you dare leave until Darius does or you will miss some great music and fun. A successful studio musician and jingle writer, he retired years ago from live performance and only takes the stage for Fat Tuesday, for his longtime friends at Harvelle’s. All this for five bucks? Bring a fistful of extra fivers and stuff them in the tip jar or your servers’ busy hands. Tues 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, $5.
TONIGHT!: “RACHMANINOFF WAS HERE Festival: Rachmaninoff’s Beverly Hills,” The sold out series concludes at this historic site the classical master called home in the early 1940s. There was quite a far-ranging music scene around him, including the Gershwins, new friend Igor Stravinsky, and he would play duets in his living room with Vladimir Horowitz. This three part series explored and explained his brief residence with lectures and music, where it happened. It was probably terrific but probably like you, I waited too long to snag tickets. Maybe it will be repeated someday. Sat 2 p.m., Greystone Mansion & Gardens, sold out.
TOLEDO DIAMOND – Unique, riveting, first class act. There’s nothing like it, it is high performance art and great fun. Degeneracy is rarely so well disciplined. Sun 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $12.
LANG LANG PLAYS GRIEG, BRAHMS – a great pianist playing great music (Grieg’s romantic “Piano Concerto” and Brahm’s masterwork “Symphony #3,” and leading off with a world premier of a special commission titled “Meditations on Joy” – c’mon!) in a great concert hall, backed by one of the great symphony orchestras in the world… aren’t we fortunate? Next Thurs 8 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA, $89-299.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: MOZART’S “THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO,” LA OPERA, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 2/26; TOLEDO DIAMOND, Harvelle’s, 2/26; HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, Cinema Bar, 2/27, 3/6, 13. 20. 27; EM, Harvelle’s, 2/28; CHRIS PIERCE, Hotel Cafe, 2/25; LA PHIL, MEHTA CONDUCTS MAHLER 3, Disney Hall, 3/2, 3, 4, 5; LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO, Disney Hall, 3/3; SONNY LANDRETH, CINDY CASHDOLLAR, McCabe’s, 3/4; NATHANIEL RATELIFF Plays NILSSON, Disney Hall, 3/8; JANE’S ADDICTION, Hollywood Palladium, 3/9; RICK SHEA, Cinema Bar, 3/9; LA PHIL, MEHTA CONDUCTS “SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE,” Disney Hall, 3/10, 11, 12; LA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA, JEFFREY KAHANE, Royce Hall, 3/11, 12; KULA SHAKER, Regent Theater, 3/12; BONNIE RAITT, Terrace Theater, 3/14; ZIGGY MARLEY, Disney Hall, 3/16, 17; WILLIE NELSON 90, Hollywood Bowl, 4/29.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org