Tag Archives: beer

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.

A House of Beers

On Tuesday, L and I scooted on down to Chinatown in hopes of attending another Kaleidoscope. Sadly, thirtyninehotel is currently renovating and is only open on Friday and Saturday nights. I did run into one of the bartenders at Downbeat who told me they might start doing Kaleidoscope during the construction, but on Thursday instead. We shall see.

Undaunted, we instead popped over to Bar 35, located next door. With over 150 beers available, this is a venerable house of beers. 21 different countries are represented in this selection and the prices run up to $9, though the majority sit at a very reasonable $5.50. We managed to roll in at happy hour and all of the beers priced at $5.50 were discounted to $4 with select beers at $3.

For us Oregonians who are used to quality microbrews, this place is Candy Land. The massive inside bar runs along one side of the lounge area and has beers displayed all the way up to the ceiling. The lounge is quite nice and had a movie being projected onto a wall, though the music was a bit louder than one would expect on a Tuesday night. Luckily, Bar 35 also has two semi-private rooms with very plush couches as well as a patio with a second bar, though it wasn’t in operation while we sat outside in the warm night, enjoying our German and Australian beers. The waitresses were by a regular intervals which meant that one could conceivably spend the whole night (weather and bathroom breaks permitting) outside on the comfy padded benches and seats.

Now, my time in Hawaii has mostly been spent rolling from one show to the next with virtually no nice, quiet nights drinking and conversing. To finally find this in Bar 35 was very refreshing. It’s a great date spot as it is quite chic and serves what seemed to be fantastic pizzas. Conversely, it is also a good place to meet up with co-workers or friends due to its large selection of beers and other drinks. Bar 35 also runs events such as 80’s Pop Muzik’s dance nights, fashion shows, and Karaoke contests.

Happy hour is all night Monday, 4-8pm Tuesday to Thursday, and 6-10pm on Saturday nights, so stop in and have a Deschutes for us.

SALT-y Beers

It was my second night on Oahu and I was ready to hit the bars and get buzzed enough to forget how culture-shocked I was feeling.  Since Honolulu seems to lack an online presence for the most part, Kendle and I joined up with a group of trendy scenesters and local musicians who knew just the place to go on a Sunday night.  Birthday boy, Nick of the local band Narwhal, let this F.O.B. girl tag along to SALT Kitchen & Tasting Bar to join in the fun.

The place was packed with young professionals and artsy types, cramming onto the industrial upper floor to gander at the black and white photographs from local artists. The HEP favorite featured  a particularly curly mustachioed fellow (and maybe a car? Oh beer, how you alter my memory).  Not thinking that I’d be blogging about this experience, I (pretty stupidly) didn’t search out the artist’s name.  Oops.

After just a few minutes of crowding the bar, we walked away with a couple of (only slightly overpriced) Sam Adam’s.  Had we been feeling a bit gutsier, we could have ordered the “Brown Bag Special” – a cheap can of beer served in a little brown bag –  that seemed to be a pretty popular choice.

Overall, the noise was manageable, the people were cool, and vibe was trendy: perfect for Date Night or just a chill and funky night on the town.  Aside from curbing Kendle’s mischevious desire to scale the slatted walls, we had a great time.  Maybe next time we’ll hit them up on a slower night and give the supposedly delicious food a try.