HERBIE HANCOCK -courtesy photo

SXSW FEH – The SMDP does all it can, on the budget of a small daily, to bring you interesting and even exclusive content. But no Charles, we can’t pay for your trip to the IMPORTANT music and film festival stage yearly in Austin. OK, I’ll pay my own way, and my wife Dian can be my photographer ‘cause her i12 takes dang good snaps. Sadly, it seems to me, SXSW has gotten too big for its britches.

I understand that when one has to shell out a couple of grand for this extravaganza, you will get a lot of folks with a vlog or website asking for ducats. But c’mon, NOTEWORTHY is a years-long weekly music column. After a ridiculous slog of filling out the same form, long long forms, at least 15 times, they certified me, but not my photographer. Because her photos have not been published in Vogue, I suppose.

I just need a photographer, I explained clearly to the top Communications Director Elizabeth Derczo, who asked me to fill out the same long long long forms over and over and even sent me links to forms that did not work, three times. In the end she did not respond to my polite pleas for reason.

“I guess you don’t need or want Santa Monica,” I finally declared, giving up. Our Plan B was probably much more enjoyable: spend the week with my sister-in-law’s extended family an hour outside teeming Austin, on the shores of the Blanco River. Happy hours on the banks, kayaking, kids cavorting, TX BBQ. Sorry, you music fan readers, I tried.


THE HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES – 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 better than this. These guys are masters, individually and collectively. They manage to record and play high-profile gigs and still show up every Monday night here, for years. Aren’t we lucky? Mon 9 p.m., Cinema Bar, Culver City, no cover.

EM – Come see what you’ve been missing (before it’s too late), one of the most talented and versatile performers in this whole dang ridiculously talented city of angels. The best shows aren’t always in the arenas and fancy clubs, and you don’t always get what you pay for. Sometimes, you get a lot more. Tues 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, $10.   


TONIGHT! -LA PHIL, SIBELIUS, TCHAIKOVSKY – Don’t hate me, not so much a fan of the Russian composers, but this Violin Concerto is pretty gorgeous, and you will recognize the melodies. Now, Jean Sibelius, that’s m’man. His story is so fascinating, you should look into it, for context. Early failures, later success, becomes the native composer representing Finland’s fight for independence from Russia, is awarded a generous yearly stipend by a grateful government, squanders it on high living, gets cut off because of war, gets it back, this time for life, then retreats to his country home, picks up the checks, composes not much after that, and nothing for the last 30 years of his life. Yeah, do it your way, Jean. The Second is a gorgeous blend of energy and his signature lyricism. Conductor is Finnish, Dalia Stasevska. Thurs 8 p.m., Fri 11 a.m., Disney Hall, LA, $89-294.

TODAY! – BOB MARLEY ONE LOVE EXPERIENCE – OK, I still haven’t seen it, busy, out of town, but I will, and my recommendation stands. Bob Marley was one of the greatest performers and musicians (his compelling, hypnotic, otherworldly vocal instrument) … ever. And his Wailers were musically phenomenal, and his songwriting was unique and remarkable. Silverlake’s Roger Steffens, the world’s foremost authority on Marley, if not reggae itself, is leading tours every weekend at 1 and 3, and he would not do that if it wasn’t up to snuff. This covers only “the Island (record label) years,” but that’s what most people are familiar with. Thurs-Sun-Wed 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 a.m. -10 p.m., Mon-Tues 11 a.m. -5:30 p.m., Ovation Hollywood, $20-70.  

“PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE” – Read carefully. It’s an “absurdist comedy.” By the inarguably absurd comic Steve Martin. I laughed, but it is not intended to have you in stitches the entire time. It is the absurd and thought-provoking fantasy that Picasso and Einstein may have hung out together in a Paris cafe in the early 20th century, before either was famous. What might they have been like? Who else might have passed through? No one knows so Martin could go anywhere. One place he went was to make the “ordinary” women involved sound smarter than those two wise guys. Some shows are selling out. Fri, Sat 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., Ruskin Group Theatre, Santa Monica Airport, $20-35.

LA OPERA, “PELLEAS AND MELISANDE,” DEBUSSY – Oh dear oh dear oh dear, I may not be able to see this until the last performance, if then, but this column is based on my personal experiences with artists, venues and organizations, and from Englebert Humperdink’s “Hansel und Gretel” on I have seen LA Opera take some chances, have some close calls and great triumphs, but never fail to present a top quality, often delightfully challenging performance. And thi is sumptuous Debussy in opera form. For as low as 15 bucks? Lunch costs more. So – go. Sun 2 p.m., Wed 7:30 p.m., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, LA, $15-249.

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. Could be the most memorable 12 bucks you ever spent. Sun 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $12.

HERBIE HANCOCK – A true legend, ranging from cool Blue Notes through the unlikely huge radio hit “Watermelon Man” to working with the great Brazilian percussionist Airto through space jazz and whatever is next, Hancock has done everything but he’s a long way from done yet. The LA Phil was wise to institute a Creative Chair for Jazz and ask him to siti in it. He appears only occasionally, so don’t miss this opportunity. Sun 7:30 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA, $109-254.

MUSE – Oh, them. That bombastic trio. So last year, or even so 2010s. Yeah, well then so is Mozart and the Rolling Stones, I guess. I saw them in the ‘10s at the same arena before it took this regrettable name and they were mindblowing, not just for effects but for the good stuff: songwriting, playing, singing. A band like this, that stays together, still has something to say. With special guests Evanescence and Highly Suspect. Next Thurs 6:30 p.m., Crypto.com Arena, LA, $36-122.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: MUSE, Crypto.com Arena, 4/6; BOB MARLEY ONE LOVE EXPERIENCE, Ovation Hollywood, 4/6-30; LA PHIL, SIBELIUS, BRAHMS, 4/7, 8; “PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE,” Ruskin Group Theatre, 4/7-9, 14-16, 21-23, 29, 30; LA OPERA, “PELLEAS AND MELISANDE,” DEBUSSY, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 4/8, 13, 16; LIBRARY GIRL, Ruskin Theatre, 4/9; TOLEDO DIAMOND, Harvelle’s, 4/9, 16, 23, 30; HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, Cinema Bar, 4/10, 17, 24; EM, Harvelle’s, 4/11, 18, 25; LA PHIL, BRAHMS #1, Disney Hall, 4/13, 15, 16; RICK SHEA, Cinema Bar, 4/13; LA PHIL CHAMBER, MOZART, BRAHMS, Disney Hall, 4/18; BLONDIE, Greek Theatre, 4/19; IGGY POP, Regent, 4/20, Hollywood Palladium, 4/27; NEIL YOUNG, STEPHEN STILLS, LUKAS NELSON, others, Greek Theatre, 4/22; WILLIE NELSON 90, Hollywood Bowl, 4/29, 30.


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