Tag Archives: 39Hotel

Kaleidoscope: Siblings and Narwhal

Last Tuesday (and every Tuesday, really) was exciting for us here at HEP. That’s right, Tuesday night is Kaleidoscope night down at the wonderful 39Hotel. For those of you not hip to the program, Kaleidoscope is a weekly event that highlights some of the best Hawaii talent from all genres of music. The normally swank venue puts on it’s skinny jeans, opens the (classy, glass bottled) PBR fridge, and keeps you in the melody from 9 until close.

Siblings and Narwhal were our entertainment for the night and they brought the biggest crowd to 39Hotel since the At Sea show we covered a few weeks ago.  The always wonderful bartenders were at their best, even going as far to save every bottle cap opened that night when L mentioned she was trying to amass them for a recycling project. L and I spent our time outside on the excellent patio enjoying the warm night and the company of friends and acquaintances, many of whom will probably read this blog (thanks guys).

Siblings were up first. We talked about them a few posts back and were itching to get to another of their shows. Since 39Hotel has no stage, the band played on the floor. This was a perfect fit for them as they were essentially engulfed in the sizable moshpit that opened up once they started their set. To sum up this extra layer of excitement, I would like to point out that the singer, Joey Green, did a mic check and a scream check. I’m not sure which was louder.

According to Siblings’ new blog, there were two new songs debuted at K-Scope, once of which (Short Lived) is up on their Bandcamp. The most memorable moment for me involved the band, the crowd, even the bartenders screaming, over and over, “We don’t burn bridges. We just don’t fucking build them.” Simply epic.

Narwhal (thankfully) gave us a half an hour break to get some air before starting up. In their recent performances, they’ve been playing their new songs almost exclusively. This night, however, they found a very pleasing mix of new and old stuff. And they were quite loud. Very loud, even. With this volume came a level of “tightness” that I hadn’t yet seen in the literally dozens of shows I’ve seen from them. Even when Kevin (Titty, to most) took his shirt, which had been ripped off in the mosh, and tied it into a blindfold on Adam mid-song, nothing was missed. Likewise, Nick managed to keep the solos flowing while being picked up three or four times.

It’d been a while since I’ve had to fight to stay at the front of a crowd and I’d never done it at a show of this size. On this night, however, the crowd was riled into a fever and I found myself pushed, pulled, punched, kicked, and generally abused while I struggled to carry on with my approximation of dancing. Not to say I didn’t enjoy it, because I definitely did. It was just the hardest Narwhal show I’ve seen yet. And it was a Tuesday.

Oh, and “Tell Me” was the finale to the night. Well, maybe it was PBR and Bacon, but we’ve already covered that.

At Sea Returns to Port

In my a short span of time in the Honolulu music scene, I have seen, met, and conversed with many bands, artists, and hangers-on. One name that consistently cropped up during these interactions is At Sea. On July 12th, I finally experienced the real deal.

After four years of hiatus, the five member band performed for the largest 39Hotel crowd I have ever seen. The floor was packed. The bar was packed. Even the outdoor table area was standing room only. To see a crowd of this magnitude on a Tuesday night struck home just how important this band was and is.

Clones of the Queen, a fantastic three-piece ambient rock band, did much more than open. While shaky at first due to their rough noise-rock beginning and clashing stage demeanor, I was quickly floored by “Window” and “Galaxies,” their smoother third and fourth songs. Throughout the 10 song setlist, Clones repeatedly soothed me into a trance with their sweet-yet-heavy rhythms only to jolt me back to life with sometimes explosive (but always awesome) crescendos and breakdowns. Ara’s use of vocals as an instrument and comfortably loping stage presence helped to bind the white/black of the guitar’s grooving stoicism to the synth’s seeming inability to stay in one place or position for more than a second. The latter, admittedly, was quite distracting at first. However, as the sound began to take me, I found my own actions reflecting his and, from moment to moment, the other’s, as well. Now, I’m no stranger to being driven to dance by a melody, but this was different. I felt a connection to each of these musicians, like we were, together, sharing the same moment. That I could feel closer to a band in this crowd of a hundred than I have as the lone man in front of the stage demonstrates the power of this band’s performance. And, as if the extra long, roller-coaster ride of a setlist didn’t kick enough, they punctuated it with the hard-hitting “Indestructible.” The flurry of distortioned-laddened, Hendrix-esque guitar solo was laid bare on top of howling synth and trip-hop beats while the vocals rose above it all, almost to wailed proportions. Their epic of epicness complete, the three calmly thanked us and began tearing down. It was then that I noticed I was actually shaking.

After a well needed break on 39Hotel’s wonderful patio, At Sea drew me back into the crowded bar with a strange, almost haunting melody. The crowd, which had thinly filled the room for Clones, now completely engulfed the three guitars, bass, and drums. I’ve never seen so many guitars in a single band before, but their use of layering the sound made it seem as natural as anything. The lone bass did well to keep a slow, steady rumbling that bridged the guitars and smooth, jazz-like drums. The vocals here were even more melodic, often times consisting of no words at all, like a low intensity scat. The overall effect of this was one of a billowing ocean of sound, pushing and pulling the crowd into a sway, the waters carrying us all in it’s tide.

It was suddenly the end of At Sea’s set and I was jolted back to reality by the roar of applause from the throng between myself and the band. I quickly realized I had had my eyes closed the whole time, whisked away into some sort of post-rock meditation. The music, so mellow and full, had brought me to a mood usually experienced in those dark nights with friends and cups of coffee, whiling away the time with Death Cab spinning on vinyl. To find that, here, in a bar full of a crowd of strangers, speaks to the power of this band of five that every soul is glad to have back.

Thanks to Clones of the Queen and At Sea for the lovely music and the bartenders of the always excellent 39Hotel. If you’d like to see some blurry cameraphone photos of the evening, take a look here on our shiny new Flickr.