Tag Archives: Anna Banana’s

No Suck Fest 5

Awesome NSF 5 Banner by the Gurus Themselves

No Suck Fest, Hawaii’s biggest DIY music festival, is going on this weekend for its fifth year. I managed to attend NSF 3, but not the outing last year, so it was high on my priority list to make it out this time around. Tonight was Day 2 of 3 and included performances by Animal Mother, The Instigators, Pink Mist, TV Microwave, Beaman, Harshist, Siblings, Botoroke (Karaoke), and mainlanders Gentlemen Prefer Blood and Big Eyes.

The mix of bands was actually quite amazing. There was a strong pop-punk showing in TV Microwave and Beaman. The former is very reminiscent of an early Blink-182 with the same strong beats and a sort of rough, fun-loving edge to it. Beaman is a bit harder to describe, though definitely inspired by early 90’s  alt/pop-punk with snappy, quick beats and songs about buttholes. The band also includes Adam Funari, China Town’s fastest drummer and an all around good dude. Oh, and he also managed to smash his way through his snare drum half-way through the set. Good job, Adam.

                          

We’ve talked about Harshist quite a bit, but it’s worth noting that they have honed that noise rock/experimental sound even more since I last saw them and they are playing damned tight. Honestly, I still haven’t found a way to fully describe this band beyond calling them a tempest mixture of harsh and smooth. If that didn’t make any sense to you, then maybe you should check out the live set they did for KTUH on their Bandcamp.

The out-of-towners that played were as different as their roots suggest. Big Eyes, originally out of New York but now residing in Seattle, is an eclectic mix of genres that falls more or less into indie rock, albeit with a definite ear for rock of decades past. I picked up their latest LP (Almost Famous) after the set and I will say they certainly played a grittier set for the mostly punk crowd tonight. Glad they repped well for us Northwesterners.

LA natives Gentlemen Prefer Blood, however, is all punk. The three-piece’s fast, growly set really got the crowd moving. The band was very experienced and crafty, dealing easily with a broken guitar string and three or four microphones knocked over by sprawling moshers. I think the lead singer may have been kicked in the face, too, though it certainly didn’t slow him down. I’m rubbish with punk, but I will say I sensed some Rancid and Irish Punk themes in the music. You punks can call me stupid after checking out some of the free music on their Bandcamp.

I managed to miss the first three bands (Animal Mother, The Instigators, and Pink Mist), but I’ve heard tell they rocked as expected. I have actually seen Animal Mother recently and would highly recommend their Strokes/Weezerish sound.

I want to make a separate note to the crowd tonight: You guys are fucking crazy. Now, I may not be as active in the scene as I used to be, but I definitely feel as though I know most Chi-To crowds. The one that came out tonight was like nothing I’ve seen before. They moshed every song. They screamed every song. They crowd surfed every last song. That’s right, crowd surfed. At Mercury bar. Sometimes there were two surfers riding the thirty person dance floor. And every time one would finally drop down, another would just jump right up. It was madness, with limbs flailing and beers spilling. Not that I hated it. I loved it. It was just so different than a usual night at Merc. And wow, do my arms feel tired.

So, you think I forgot about Siblings, eh? Well, that is far from the truth. Due to their placement between the travelling bands, Siblings actually only got about 11 minutes worth of stage time. But it was 11 minutes of raw punk power. They had the mosh spinning and slamming harder than at any other time during the night.

Not fully content with that small of an outing, however, they invited some of us to a super secret location for a post-show set. Now, I wouldn’t use the word ‘intimate’ to describe any punk set, but this was a good as it gets; Just the band and fifteen people in a tiny room. No moshing. No talking. Just the sound of every song in their repertoire washing over us, all of the fury and frustration ricocheting off of the walls and our psyches. It was an amazing experience I am glad to have been able to take a part in.

So, if any of this No Suck Fest business has piqued your interest, tomorrow night (or tonight, I guess) is the Third and Final Day. If you are available, you would be silly to miss. It’s at Anna Banana’s starting at 4 and going all night. The two travelling bands from Day 2 will be there as well as the rest of the visitors and some new local talent. Also, check out the No Suck Fest website for the schedule and updated information about the after-fest beach party. And, as always, you can see more pictures at Flickr as well as check us out at Facebook and Twitter. Keep rockin’, Honolulu.

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Years End List! (Part 5: The End of the End)

Okay, here it is: the last vestiges of 2011. I hope you’ve enjoyed our run down of the year Spin Magazine called the Great Big No. Here’s to a better 2012!

Top Five Honolulu Shows I Attended

5. Ramblin’ for Raegan: This show was amazing. While we didn’t cover it here at HEP, L did at her own blog. The event was for the charity of Raegan, a five year old girl who tragically lost her father a month prior. Narwhal rocked the house and it was the first time we saw Discord & Rye doing their sexy thing. Ong King is a great space for a show and the art that was up was an excellent time filler between bands.

4. At Sea Returns: At Sea, a post-rock band that had been on hiatus for four years, returned in a big way in July. Supported by the equally awesome “space rock” band Clones of the Queen, they packed thirtyninehotel fuller than any show I’d seen before or have seen since. This was certainly a special performance that I’d have been loathe to miss.

3. Young Fangs Anna’s Show: This show was actually a surprise. We hadn’t seen Narwhal for almost a month and went to hit up their first show back. That show happened to also be the final one in a mini-tour for the Alaskan Indie band Young Fangs. Add Siblings and campfire to the bill and you have yourself an excellent evening.

2. Black Square CD Release Party: If you’ve been keeping up with these lists, then you’d know that I listed Black Square as the fourth best band I heard this year. This show was where that all began. The epic four hour show included sets by Upstanding Youth, Raised By Wolves, Narwhal, and, of course, the China Town powerhouses. It had everything you want in a release party: crazy performances, merch of every variety, dancing, and alcohol. Much alcohol. I think my body was running on beer alone since I sweated all the water out in the mosh pit that opened up.

1. Halloween Party at White Tiger Lounge/Orphanage/Dollhouse: Before October 30, 2011, I thought I knew what a house show was. On that night, however, everything I had ever attended before began to look like Uncle Fred with a guitar at the family reunion. Siblings and Narwhal turned a quaint living room into a battleground full of screaming, jumping, moshing characters in various stages of costume. The brightest moment for me was actually captured on tape by Travis. “Tell Me” is, bar none, my favorite song to hear live. We did it harder and crazier than we ever will again. Having this much fun should be illegal.

 

Well, that’s it folks. Thank you for a wonderful 2011. Let’s all hope the world doesn’t end before we can do more of these lists next year!

Upstanding Youth and the Frozen Tundra of HEP

So, here are are again, almost a month with no updates at HEP. I would love to say that we’ve been far too busy with shows and raucous evenings to get around to posting, but that would be a lie. Instead, you get excuses about the self-imposed exile of NaNoWriMo (we didn’t win, by the way, but making it to 30,000 words was a small victory) and being poor.

In fact, the last show we attending was the Upstanding Youth 10 year anniversary on November 19th. We were only there for a few hours, however, as words were to be written on our novels. Even still, we caught all of Black Square‘s and Hell Camino‘s sets and half of the headliner’s.

Hell Camino played  slower and more honky tonk than I would have thought possible, obviously trying to play to the ska sound of the night. It was still great, however, and was really cool to see them work outside of the norm. They did still throw down a couple of psychobilly songs, however, which got our blood flowing.

Black Square were awesome as always. I’m not sure how many times I’ve listened to their latest CD, but I literally cannot stay seated when they play their golden songs (which are all of them, of course). My friends and I made our way through the fifty or so people who has amassed during the band’s first song (“In The Day,” if memory serves) and found that there was a lot of skanking going on in the front. Like, more than I had ever seen for this band, even at their own monthly headliner “Black Saturday.” We, of course, quickly joined in. The best moment of this set (and probably the whole show) was when they had steamrolled into a high energy song (“Slow Down” or “Black Square” stand out in my hazy memory) and all of us up front managed to look up at T. R. at the same moment. From the stage, he looked down at us very seriously and held up one hand, his index finger making a small circle. Instantly, the dancing devolved into a roaring mosh of twelve or so people jumping, tumbling, and smashing our way around the stage. I caught a glimpse of T. R.’s face wearing a smirk as he went back to playing.

The last bit of the show we caught was Upstanding Youth, the now 10 year old band. Before they went on, someone introduced them as the “best ska band of all time,” an extremely tall order that I don’t really agree with. To me, they were a pretty decent ska band, but, honestly, fairly vanilla. I am by no means an authority of the genre, however.

Really, after more than a year kicking around China Town and seeing many talented bands barely scraping twenty people out for a show, I was somewhat upset to see a hundred people flood into Anna’s for this set only. I recognized no one in this new crowd and it seems most of them had eschewed the previous two performances, despite their quality. As far as I can tell, Upstanding Youth had pulled a huge crowd from another scene (I guessed Waikiki, but that was a hunch) into the bar that I have only gone to see “Chi-To bands” perform at. Perhaps I am being too scene-insular.

NOTE: In this next breakdown paragraph, I’m going to only talk about what I heard at the UY show. I’ve since listened to their recorded stuff and found it to be quite different.

To give a fair shake to the band, they were good. Whereas I generally like punk with my ska, Upstanding Youth were straight ska with a side of pop. I can see how the band has become quite popular on Oahu as they have incorporated many of what I would consider to be ‘traditional Hawaiian’ sounds into their slow to mid-tempo songs. It was more music to groove than dance to. Except for a few brave souls, the farthest anyone in the crowd got to moving was a small sway or head bob. There isn’t anything wrong with that, of course, but it was hard for me to chill out after Black Square had shocked me into action.

That was really my issue with Upstanding Youth, the proclaimed “best ska band of all time”: Black Square was just generally more enjoyable. My quick and unscientific poll of the people I knew at the show confirmed my thoughts; You have to be a great band to follow Black Square. And Upstanding Youth, to me, was not great, but good at best.

Feel free to comment/argue with me in the comments, on our Facebook, or Twitter. Also, czech out some blurry cell phone photos on Flickr. I swear we’ll get a decent camera some day.

P.S.: Tomorrow night (9pm) there is a sweet show going on at Mercury. $5 for 5 bands, including the HEP favs Gnarwal, Coral Stabz, and The Substitoots. Not sure if we’ll make it, but totes buy us a beer if we do. We could use the booze.

What’s the Haps, HEPs?

Well, the self imposed exile that is NaNoWriMo continues for us here at HEP. Luckily for you other people, there are some awesome looking shows coming up this weekend and beyond!

First up, Josh86 and JetSetter Productions are throwing a special Friday edition of The Clampdown featuring 2face4, 13th Legion, campfire, and The Deliberates. I’ve not seen any of these bands save campfire, but, if the word on the street is anything, Anna Banana’s is the place to be tomorrow, Friday 11th, at 9pm. $5 cover, as usual.

Then, on Saturday at 9pm, Black Saturday will be rocking hard at The Venue. This second-Saturday-of-every-month show is always great fun (and was actually one of the first shows I ever attended in Hawaii, almost a year ago). November’s iteration includes my psychobilly love The Hell Caminos, the folk-indie-acoustic-hunky Discord & Rye (L: swoon), ska-reggae The Blue Ribbons, and, as always, the amazing talent of The Black Square. Not sure what the cover is, but I do believe they run a special on Mickey’s grenades for $2.

If a DJ is more your tune this weekend, check out thirtyninehotel for Luca Bacchetti, an internationally acclaimed artist making his impression on the island. These shows usually come with a steep cover, so be ready.

Finally, At Sea is going to affect Anna’s on Tuesday, the 15th. The amazing post-rock band was featured in a previous post and this will be our first outing to see them since. Backing up the musical emotion are Makua Valley Blast Test and Moon Occults the Sun, two other experimental bands. Get there early to set your mind in the mood with a few drinks. Cover is probably $5.

That’ll do it for shows up through Tuesday. We’re following some awesome shows next week, but we’ll talk about those more then! In the mean time, keep us informed through Facebook, Twitter, and email.

Keep rocking, Honolulu.

Too Busy to Count

As stated in previous posts, we’ve been slacking a bit here at HEP. We do have piles of excuses, however!

The biggest excuse for my not blogging is simply a lack of headspace. What’s been consuming my noodle? My betrothal to the better half of this blog on Friday, September 30th, of course. Thankfully, many of you who will read this were actually in attendance at the Sibling’s Fundraising event that they were nice enough to let me steal some thunder from. Michael Keany snapped some expert photos when I ambushed L at the end of Narwhal’s set. I’ve heard rumors the whole thing was also taped by Joey Gonz. Thanks Narwhal, Siblings, Michael, Joey, and everyone who could share in the event with us.

Another reason for the languishing post count is that we just haven’t been to much lately. We did rock out with some very fun Aussies during the AFL (Australian Football League) Grand Final at the excellent Varsity (expect a post about this one soon). But, that’s really it.

Last weekend was pretty jam packed with shows, but, sadly, we were too busy getting married to attend! That’s right, L and I were legally married on October 7th, exactly one year since of her fateful trip to visit an old college friend who would become so much more. For photos of the event, please visit Ben (aka Toasterlizard)’s Flickr gallery of the event.  We’ll be doing the larger family and friends ceremony a year from now back in Oregon.

Well, with all of that epic news out of the way, I’ll simply close this post out with the only show I know of for this weekend: A free show featuring Big Island punk band Old Habits Die Hard and local awesomeness campfire and Discord & Rye.Show starts at 9pm (ish) on Friday at the ever wonderful Anna’s.

As always, if you have a show going down, let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or Email and we’ll post about it here.

So, uh…

Wow, it’s been nearly two weeks. We HEPsters have been quite busy and had car troubles, so nothing really new to report on our end. I hear we did miss an epic kickball game while the car was down. However, here are some upcoming events that you might see us at!:

RAMBLIN’ FOR RAEGAN: A benefit concert for 5-year-old Raegan Rhoden who lost her father Jeff last month. Cover and drinks are cash only and will go to a fund to help support Raegan. Line-up includes: Narwhal, campfireDiscord & Rye, and Butter Side Down. Doors open at 9pm on Saturday, September 24th.

Never Say Die: Friday, September 30th, (and every last Friday of the month)  at Anna’s. Rocking out with Mano Kane, Animal MotherShark Vs. Squid, and Wombat Holocaust. If only Narwhal could be there to fill out the animal theme.

NOBODY’S HERO!: Anti-First Friday (October 7th) show at Anna’s. Talent includes campfire, Deep Throat, Dr. Zaius, Leo Darlin’, and DJ Bro Job. Cover is $5 after 9, but get there early to knock a couple back downstairs.

That’s all we’re see coming down the pipe. Of course, if you know of another show, link or tell us on Facebook, Twitter, or E-Mail and we’ll post about it. For now, though, I cannot wait to get back to the music.

The Young Fangs

My July was somewhat hollow. Sure, we saw At Sea and, yeah, No Suck Fest was good. But all work and no Narwhal made Kendle a dull boy. So, we happily skipped down to Anna’s on a Friday to enjoy their post-vacation-break show alongside Siblings, Campfire, and Alaskan band Young Fangs. Travis of Coral Stabz fame was also on hand to spin vinyl.

The Siblings are a fun four-man punk band described to me multiple times as, “the best band in Honolulu.” Strong praise, to be sure, though I had managed to accidentally avoid them until this show. For that I am quite sad. Now, I will be the first to admit I know little about punk, but I still say these guys rocked. Their singer, Joey Green, freely moved from stage to floor, quickly inciting the crowd into a mosh, and threw the microphone around like a three pound yo-yo. Joe Gonzales, the drummer who would go on to pull double duty with Campfire, was a strange contrast. His very calmly controlled and technical style was both impressive and enjoyable as a drummer and listener while Jacoby Young (bass) and Thomas Manalo (guitar) progressively bridged the excitability gap between their band mates, both in performance and melody. The overall impression was that of pockets of control within a torrent of chaotic sound and motion. And I loved it. Best to get up front for this one, though you might get some bruises (I did).

Narwhal was up next and they rocked, as usual. The HEP favorite mixed up their usual “Lies” to “Tell Me” setlist and instead played mostly new songs. The crowd was ranbunctious, guitar strings were broken, and Erica was dressed surprisingly fancy. It was certainly good to have these guys back to get me sweaty and out of breath. Yes, they took me there…

During the second day of No Suck Fest, L and I had to miss Campfire. Luckily, they were also in the lineup. The three piece seemed to basically be the punk side of honky-tonk alt band Raised By Wolves, wielding electric instruments rather than a warm violin. Nick Dagnar (read: Danger) was still at the helm, but Cody Zeek was on bass guitar and providing additional vocals. Cody did take lead on nearly half the songs, replacing Nick’s gravelly, even singing with a much higher tempo sort-of-howl-but-still-deep style that reminded me of certain 90’s era punk bands. In any case, hearing them rock from drinking song to painful murder stories cast an incredibly different light on songs I’d come to love from Wolves and I will gladly see them again.

The Young Fangs are a three-man-band from Alaska. The two front men, brothers Joshua and Brennan Labuda, were clad in the indie-essentials: plaid button up, beanie, slippers (or flip-flops for those of us not from the islands), and tight-but-no-too-tight jeans. Their drummer, the blond, long locked Joel Fagre, had the “metal goes soft” look that seems to be getting very popular these days. Luckily, their music was far more original than their attire.

The Young Fangs are essentially two bands. The Brothers Labuda split guitar, bass, and singing duties evenly between them. With one at the helm, the music was somewhere between the disjointed sound of Modest Mouse and the woodsy twang of Band of Horses. Mellow, soft sung groove sessions abound, only to break into strong, steady guitar and high pitched singing during choruses. All of this rife with a haunting, joyful sorrow that was low on angst and high in mood.

Once the band’s Chinese Fire Drill was complete, however, the sound became heavier and floated much closer to a Kings of Leon style with distortion laden, deep singing, slower, smoother beats, and downright sexy guitar. This wasn’t indie to ride bikes to; this was baby-making music. Normally, this sort of dramatic shift in sound would seem disruptive, but Young Fangs handled it with grace, using their natural charisma to fill in the intermediate time with banter, jokes, and information about some charitable organizations they were working with.

Even with a directed sing-along (“The Way it Goes”), normally an obnoxious diversion, they brought a smile to our faces and singing from our lips. “All of My Life,” a very Killers-esque romp, also stood out for it’s lyrical timing and soaring chorus that had the whole crowd bouncing. “Saves the Day” was another instant favorite with its smooth, subtle singing that quickly broke into a nearly howled crescendo. Honestly, though, every song could be a favorite and that was what impressed me most about Young Fangs: they have more flexibility than almost any indie band I’ve ever seen before. I feel this band is destined for (and rightfully deserves) a wider popularity outside the strange, dislocated states of Alaska and Hawaii.

Finally, I just wanted to also highlight Joel, their drummer. While, at first, I thought the aforementioned sort of metal look was just a style, I’m pretty certain that is the real story. His drumming was busy and heavy on the cymbals and bass like much hardcore, but not overbearing as might be expected in this genre. Of course, it doesn’t hurt the story that, once shirtless, we could see he was ripped and looked even more Viking-like. Whatever his background, I enjoyed his strong, yet fairly relaxed, style that added even more character to a band that is already quite multifaceted.

Young Fangs also gave away thirty copies of their album Thanks for Caring which I’ve been rocking out to for the past few weeks. Much of the album, including the three songs above, can be downloaded at their ReverbNation site. They’ve also released music on iTunes, if that is your preferred music medium, so check them out. There are also more bad pictures on our Flickr, so go ahead and check those out, too.