Tag Archives: The Venue

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.

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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.

Black Saturday: Narwhal

It’s 8:30 on a Saturday night and I’m cruising down H-1, glad I am a couple hours shy of the Waikiki bar rush. My destination is The Venue, an aptly named rock club in China Town (or Chi-To, as I like to call it), where I’m hoping to not miss Narwhal at 9:00.

Now it’s a couple past nine and I’m walking down Bethel. There’s something happening at the Hawaii Theater and the sharply dressed culturalites are mixing with the more tragically hipster crowd outside of Bethel Street Gallery. I try to ignore them while I search for the completely unmarked black glass door that is the entrance to The Venue. As I approach the supposed address, a group of three twenty-ish girls approach from the opposite direction.

“Is this the-?” I begin.

“-Entrance to The Venue? Yeah, this is it. It doesn’t look like they’re open yet,” one of them finishes my sentence. “Who are you here to see?”

I eye the three and immediately recognize one of them. “Her,” I say, pointing at Erica, lead singer of the three-piece rock outfit Narwhal. Giggles all around.

After a drink during the bands’ soundcheck, I find myself in The Venue. It’s a fairly spacious, concrete-floored room with a smooth industrial appearance. There are both high tables and a raised couch area to sit and watch in addition to the large standing space in front of the stage. The bar opposite the stage has a very nice selection of beers and hard alcohol and the bartenders are friendly and talkative. Three dollar grenades of Mickey’s definitely didn’t hurt my desire to return either, though they’re only open when there is a show on.

Narwhal comes onto the small stage. The other two members I’ve yet to meet, Adam on drums (or skins, as it seems hip to say these days) and Nick on lead guitar, are joined tonight by the Hell Camino’s bassist Michael Camino. Strangely, Erica and Michael have both opted for plaid button-downs in the otherwise downplayed rock fashion of the band.

Someone from the forty person crowd heckles the singer until she produces a narwhal plushie from her bag and attaches it to her mic stand. This appears to be the unofficial start of the show and the muscled drummer counts them into their first song, Fist for a Face.

The music is loud, fast, and paradoxically tight and loose at the same time in a way that can only be described as very Rockabilly. The vocals (and the drum-guitar lineup) ring of an early Yeah Yeah Yeahs, with Erica’s voice jumping from low singing to a voice-cracking shriek that adds punch to the well-timed pauses and breakdowns of their short songs. The lyrics are mostly unintelligible over the distortion of the instruments and the harsh microphone the singer seems quite proud of.

Nick’s lead guitar has many chances to shine as he is afforded ample solo time, though its quite underplayed and rhythmic during the majority of the set. His red, hollow-bodied Gibson is beautiful in The Venue’s simple, but effective, lighting and he bobs along with the beat, seemingly in his own happy place.

On drums, Adam is a beast. His speedy beats are surprisingly complex and tight. As a long-time drummer, I’m amazed at his stamina and ability to glaze over what could be painful missteps by the other members of the band (yes, I did see those smiles cracking).

My two favorite songs, Cadillac and Tell Me, are both represented tonight, though I’m not sure if this is due to a small repertoire or dumb luck. Cadillac’s early build up and snappy vocals had me up front and dancing, though the others in the quickly growing crowd seemed more reserved over their boogie than I was. Tell Me is, in my opinion, their best song. It has steady, harsh verses broken up by a fantastic build up that forgoes the microphones and relies instead upon the raw screams of the band (and crowd). I will freely admit I have no idea what the words I am singing along with are, but I’m hooked.

Narwhal plays a powerful eight song set and I’m glad to have taken the trip to Chi-To to see it. They very graciously accept my offer of free beers and we chat for a while. All three of them are friendly and remember me from some Internet correspondence. I am a huge sucker for approachable bands, and Narwhal lives up to my expectations. I’m excited for a new split they say they’re recording and they seem excited that I want to hear it.

I’m not entirely sure what the Honolulu scene is like yet, but Narwhal is the most enjoyable band I’ve seen so far. Their combination of speedy music and fearless vocals make them worth the cover at any of the bars they play on a seemingly weekly basis and I will surely be at their next show.

P.S.: Thanks to the bartender at BambuTwo (Andy, I think?) for keeping me entertained while waiting for the show and the gentleman who let me out of the parking garage for free because I didn’t have any cash. You guys made my already excellent night even better.