Tag Archives: Raised By Wolves

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!

Not Just Scenesters

I love Saturdays.  The cool, Hawaiian breeze through my kitchen.  The bitter coffee I can sip for hours on my patio with no worries of being late to work.  But no great Saturday is born without an equally fantabulous Friday night.  Whether you get off work and immediately hit one of your favorite bars where all the cool people go pau hana, or maybe you go home and listen to some relaxing music, you’ve gotta do something to get into the weekend swing.

After a terribly rough week of word search puzzles and arts and crafts, I decided that taking Kendle out for a juicy burger at Big City Diner (our new pad has one just down the street) was just the thing. With expectations only of salty fries and a cold beer, we were pleasantly surprised when we discovered that Friday night is live music night at BCD.  Cold ones in hand, we mellowed out to a kind of music we’ve heard very little of since moving to Oahu: traditional Hawaiian.

It’s not surprising, really.  Most of the HEPsters’ weekends are spent in ChiTo, grooving out to the vibrant stylings of our favorite local rock bands, or lying low at one of the less crowded beaches on the North Shore.  We don’t spend much time at tourist hotspots, not because of some deep seated protest on our parts, but because it’s hard to find time when you both have legit jobs and weekends are a precious time. So, it was a pleasant surprise to find ourselves swaying to the beat of a different drum on Friday night.

What it comes down to is that live music is live music, and live music is fantastic.  You forge a connection with the artists whether you want to or not; with ‘Ike Pono you don’t have much of a choice. Humorous, melodious, and hypnotic, the music of this local trio went from barbershop quartet to Hawaiian mariachi band to just plain relaxing over the course of a half hour.  During their intermission, the three band members, Stan, Bobby, and Michael, made the rounds and chatted up the patio crowd.  It was great to form a connection beyond the music and find out that we even had some things in common! It turns out that Stan used to be in the military, Bobby is a band director at a local school, and Michael is from Oregon. Small world.

Well, it’s time for me to get off the Intertubes and finish the saga that is our move to a new place.  Tonight, all will be rewarded with much music and madness at ChiTo’s Hallowbaloo where we’ve been told a bit of Discord & Rye/ Raised by Wolves will be going down at Hank’s.  Catch you there!

Black Square CD Release Party @ Anna’s

I just returned from the Black Square CD release party and all I can say is wow. This was quite possibly one of the best shows I’ve yet seen on island.

We arrived just as Upstanding Youth  was getting heavy into their set. Perhaps it was my focus on hellos and getting beers in me, but they faded to the background until the final two songs. By then, I had zeroed in on the music and found it to be a light, woodsy blend. They could very easily play in any setting, which I feel is a huge advantage in this town. I could use a few more listens before settling into any deep opinions, though.

Next was Raised by Wolves (or, as we often put it, Something About Wolves). I’ve seen these two indie-turned-folk/country gentlemen a few times before, but these meetings are too few and too far between. Tonight they were in rare form, often ad-libbing names from the crowd in with great effect. Their heavy, sort-of-honkey-tonk, sort-of-indie rock came out in every heart straining, glass raising lyric and the inclusion of a few guest singers (here’s to you, John Ridgeway) only amplified the singer’s amazing vocal talent. Their drinking song, Hair of the Dog, had every person in the bar singing along, and their heart-felt How Low Can You Go brought the pained howls of a hundred depressed moments. Finally deciding on the bass-kick pedal arrangement in lieu of the singer/guitarist stomping on bare stage will undoubtedly extend this slow-fiddle/rhythmic guitar duo’s longevity. And thankfully, for I could listen to these folk’s music every night.

After that, HEP favorite Narwhal was up. Now, the double-guitar-and-drum three piece had set up a brutal schedule for this weekend. This show was actually their second of the night, as they had rocked out at an art show at Mercury Bar just half an hour before arriving at Anna Banana’s. If they were tired, however, it didn’t show in the playing at all. They were fast and tight, as is their signature, and any tiny misstep was easily covered up by the other members. The biggest problem came in the form of the always-too-quiet microphone Erica was attempting to shriek through. This issue, however, enhanced the overall performance for me, though, as I witnessed a band not only hold but enthuse a crowd without the thing that first attracted me to them: the witty lyrics and harsh vocals. A small, friendly pit opened up and the almost instrumental songs kept everything moving for their full setlist (which included a song written a mere day before) and the demanded encore. Narwhal, you once again have proven why I love you.

Now was the time, however. Black Square, the big man on campus for this event, took the stage and I was happy to see their reportedly departed trombone player (who had recorded with them for the CD this party was all about) was there sporting a brand new wedding ring (congrats guys, if you should read this). They got right into it and it was a fight to maintain a front spot as they spread their ska loveliness across the room. It was loud, tight, and (even at the end of a night of dancing) invigorating. While I was fairly winded at the end of Narwhal, there was literally not one inch of my clothing not drenched  halfway through Square’s epically long setlist. All of the fan favorites were played, shoutouts and thanks given, solos granted, and, best of all, a crowd that was more than willing to show their appreciation by going nuts. Not that there was any danger beyond the random errant elbow or accidental headbutt; all people who slipped on concrete floor covered in beer were caught before they hit the ground and brought up to rejoin the fray immediately (this includes yours truly who is eternally grateful).

To share my honest opinion, Black Square can mix it up with any national level punk-ska band today. The lyrics are inventive, the guitar is simultaneously rhythmic and interesting, the brass lifts up the sound instead of bogging it down, and the drummer throws down fills on a whim I would have to practice for weeks. At the time of this writing I still have not listened to the CD release (ears are still ringing), but, if their live shows are any indication of the end result, I am sure this will be a breakout moment for a truly stand-up band. And, to be honest once more, Josh (lead singer and guitarist) deserves to reap the rewards for the hard work he has put into this scene.

If it’s worth anything, I raise my glass to you, buddy, and all those who make this small culture what it is. You deserve all the praise in the world, though you also easily deserve the $10 I traded for the album. I know I’m gonna love it.

Thanks: Anna Banana crew (especially Michael, you always give me great joy and beer), all the bands, Emily of Downbeat fame, and my two friends who decided to come along on a work day. All of you made this a night I will remember for years to come.