Tag Archives: Clones of the Queen

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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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.