Tag Archives: Chi-To

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!

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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.

HEPpy Halloween!

Okay, okay, so it’s not Halloween anymore, but it was a crazy weekend for us here at HEP. Hope you all had fun with your costumes and candy.

On Saturday night, we took the plunge into Hallowbaloo, the three-day Honolulu music festival. In short, it was barely controlled insanity. Three or four blocks of Chi-To were gated off, numerous stages erected, several food trucks parked, and thousands of costumed partiers were beer’d. The costumes ranged from several hula lamps and Hunter S. Thompsons to two Deviled Eggs (literally two fried eggs made of cardboard worn by horned red-people). Sadly, us HEPsters were a little late to enjoy any of the live entertainment (including a reportedly amazing performance from Cherry Blossom Cabaret), but we did manage to scoot into 39Hotel for some PBR’s and, eventually, spill into The Venue for a show by Black Square and Kings of Spade! Overall, Hallowbaloo was pretty fun, though the crowd was more of a crush than a background and the lines were quite long for everything (we didn’t even get into Bar35 due to the thirty minute to one hour wait).

After a few hangover remedies, we were back in Honolulu Sunday night for a show and party at Orphanage. This old mansion (formally known as the Dollhouse) is an amazing treasure hidden in the northern hills of Honolulu and occupied by a 90’s sitcom worth of characters. The venue for the night was actually the living room (or “White Tiger Lounge” as they call it) which we managed to pack forty or so screaming, costumed people into. Coral Stabz started out the night in celebration of their new album release (stealin’ pakalolo), though we were late due to the horrendous H1 traffic and missed what I was told was an epic performance. Haven’t had a chance to listen to the tape yet, but I’m sure it’s amazing as well.

We did arrive in time to rock out to Siblings, who were all dressed up as bicycle missionaries from the Church of Siblings of Radder-Day Saints. The mosh basically spilled into the band at this point and, more than once, Joey Green found himself at the back of the crowd, his microphone cord wrapped around his neck like a whip, drawing him back to the front. As the songs raged on and the band/crowd mixture shook the room, the temperature spiked, cooking us until the floor was slick with sweat. It is at this point I will remind you this took place in a living room.

After a booze, water, smoke, and air break (in that order), (G)Narwhal fired up their set. This was now three hours into the drinking and over an hour into the concert and where there was moshing for the punk of Siblings, there is pure insanity for Narwhal. People are attempting to crowd surf, only to smash their heads into the ceiling and fall onto the couch, wrapped up like a mummy in the overhead decorations. Travis of Coral Stabz has covered himself in fake blood and is using it to zombify everyone around him. Someone has taken Adam’s extra drumstick and is smashing additional cymbals to his beat. Not one, not two, not three, but four “last songs” are played. The actual last “last song,” my personal favorite “Tell Me,” is sung mostly by the crowd as Erica’s microphone cord has been disconnected by several feet and she is frantically chasing the end around, ensnaring it just in time to belt the chorus and then lose it again. This is the best show of their’s that I have ever seen.

Sadly, we had to leave shortly after this. We did score a few amazing cupcakes, a copy of the new Coral Stabz tape, and many promises that Adam would get us our fancy new GNARWHAL pins. If the Facebook photos are any evidence, the party lost no steam without us. Thanks for a great night, you crazy, costumed party animals.

P.S.: It appears L has grown impatient with this long post and already posted about our November adventure in NaNoWriMo. I assure you we will not ignore HEP, though we expect to spend more nights in, replacing the crush of the bar with the comfort of a couch while we write. Expect to continue seeing updates about upcoming events, however. We wouldn’t abandon you…

P.P.S: There are a few photos up on the Flickr, but the majority of the weekend was shot using good old fashioned disposable cameras! That said, we should be rolling out those photos next week. For now, content yourself with some amazing shots over at everyday is a wishing well.

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.

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.

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.