R.I.P. ROBBIE ROBERTSON: And now there is one. The one you might not have guessed, the quiet older guy in the back with a long bushy beard, master of all those keyboards. Garth Hudson is still with us at 86, but the co-founder, leader, guitarist, vocalist and main songwriter Robbie Robertson – think of your favorite 12 songs by The Band, and he probably wrote every one – died earlier this month at 80.The Band was unique, and I always had a hard time trying to explain them to the uninitiated. but I feel The Band was one of the most important American groups ever. (And they were four-fifths Canadian.) Their blending of voices with instruments was magical. A boyhood buddy, across the street in Albuquerque, Mike McPherson, six months older but eons ahead for his ken of music, one day handed me his newly acquired LP of “Music from Big Pink.” “What’s it like?” I asked. He replied only, “Just listen.” That’s still the best advice.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: .
THE HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES – from their website: “Hot Club’s brand of virtuoso, Django-style 1930s gypsy swing jazz is found nowhere else and even if it were, it couldn’t possibly be this good. These guys are masters, individually and collectively. You will find it hard to stop smiling all night. – Santa Monica Daily Press” And still show up every Monday night here, for 12 years. Mon 9 p.m., Cinema Bar, Culver City, no cover.
TONIGHT – “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM” – TB specializes in Shakespeare, and they do “Midsummer” every year. They do tinker with it a little, and that means if you saw it last year, or 10 years ago, you will see something a bit different. Who doesn’t love it? Puck, yes! Thurs 7:30 p.m., Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga Canyon, $15-60.
“A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE” – Hallelujah, the Ruskin is back with what promises to be another blockbuster, an Arthur Miller play, led by Ray Abruzzo of “The Sopranos.” Do you need to know more? OK, life, loyalty and obsession in 1950s Brooklyn, through the eyes of longshoreman Eddie Carbone, whose life unravels because his niece falls in love with “an immigrant,” Fri 8 p.m., Ruskin Group Theatre, SMO, $20-30.
“MACBETH” – In this bloody, depraved corner, M’Lord and M’Lady, reigning still as the unchallenged monstrous couple of political pushiness, gruesome greed, absolute ambition and murderous mayhem. Some things never change. No wonder this one by Will (Shakespeare, not Geer) remains perhaps his best-known work (but hardly beloved). Sat 7:30 p.m., Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga Canyon, $15-60.
“QUEEN MARGARET’S VERSION OF SHAKESPEARE’S WAR OF THE ROSES” – This Theatricum production encompassing Henry VI Part I, II, III, and Richard III, is stitched together in a way that becomes a bit confusing, and as far as it “centers on the women and children of this UK civil war saga,” well, a whole lot of them wound up dead. The acting is, as always, top notch, but – nearly three hours is just a bit long despite the fantastic sword fights. Sun 7:30 p.m., Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga Canyon, $15-60.
“A PERFECT GANESH” – Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum is celebrating its 50th year of operation – amazing! – and while their forte is Shakespeare they always throw in one other unusual play per season, to make us think. This Terrence McNally play finds humor within the self-searching American abroad. Two friends travel to India with heavy baggage, reeling from loss and personal demons.. Fri 7:30 p.m., Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga Canyon, $15-60.
THE CHAMBERS FAMILY SINGERS with THE ASH GROVE ALUMNI – History along with beautiful voices, outstanding playing, and fine and fiery folk music, isn’t that a perfect combo? The original Chambers Brothers quartet that took a left turn from their family gospel roots to flip out radio programmers with their psychedelic 11+-minute hit song “Time Has Come Today” (1968) were four of the boys (there were 13 Chambers siblings all totaled), including Joe and Willie, joined for this performance on high harmonies by sister Jewell. Reprising their performance at McCabe’s half a century ago. How fortunate are we to live in a place like this! Sun 8 p.m., McCabe’s, Santa Monica,, $30.
Uillean Pipes with ERIC RIGLER TRIO featuring CONNOR VANCE – If that seems an awkward listing, I’m finding all the reasons you should drive to Palos Verdes Estates Sunday for this very unusual free concert. Rigler is the most recorded piper in the world. Every time a film even smells like it needs pipes, call Rigler. “Braveheart,” “Titanic,” even “The Simpsons.” Palos Verdes ain’t so far. In Ireland, I had to drive from the east coast to the west, Dublin to Dingle, to hear an expert uillean piper. The small pub in the small town was packed, in the off season. You will also hear fiddler Lily Honigberg. But here’s your best reason to go: the third player is local virtuoso CONNOR VANCE, who can play almost anything with strings and is adding instruments even as we speak. He was a member of recording, globally-touring Dustbowl Revival, until he decided he had to carve his own path. I applaud that tough decision, which will pay off. Rescheduled from the previous “hurricane” Sunday. Bring a picnic dinner. Sun 6:30 p.m., The Neighborhood Church, Palos Verdes Estates, no cover.
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.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: “A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE,” Ruskin Group Theatre, 9/1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 24, 25, 26; “A PERFECT GANESH,” 9/1, 10/16, 24, 30; “MACBETH,” Theatricum Botanicum, 9/2, 17, 23; TOLEDO DIAMOND, Harvelle’s, 9/3, 10, 17, 24; “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM,” Theatricum Botanicum, 9 /4, 14, 21; “QUEEN MARGARET’S VERSION OF SHAKESPEARE’S WAR OF THE ROSES,” Theatricum Botanicum, 9/3, 9. 17, 24; HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, Cinema Bar, 9/4, 11, 18, 25; MOZART Under the Stars, LA PHIL, Hollywood Bowl, 9/5; BUDDY GUY, KINGFISH INGRAM, Hollywood Bowl, 9/6; BACH, MENDELSOHN, LA PHIL, Hollywood Bowl, 9/7; Donizetti’s “L’elisir d’amore” at the El Portal Theatre. The production from; HOLST “THE PLANETS,” PHILLIP GLASS, LA PHIL, Hollywood Bowl. 9/12; . SAMANTHA FISH, Teragram Ballroom, 9/14; JOHN LEGEND with Orchestra, Gospel Choir, Hollywood Bowl, 9/23; LA PHIL GALA Celebrating FRANK GEHRY, Disney Hall, 10/5; STING, Hollywood Bowl, 10/7.
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 email@example.com (the real mr music…)