Archive for May, 2011

‘Acid Wash’ returns to Nextdoor

May 26th, 2011

Nextdoor was the Chinatown destination of choice on Wednesdays back in the late-2000's. (Star-Advertiser File/2008)

"Acid Wash" is dead. Long live "Acid Wash!"

That was the line Nextdoor owner Chris Kahunahana and "Acid Wash" promoter Mike "DJ Vegas Mike" Licata agreed upon earlier this week while discussing one of the bigger moves to hit Chinatown in 2011. The weekly '80s party that originally started at Nextdoor in 2006 will return to Hotel Street in June after a stint on Pauahi at SoHo Mixed Media Bar.

According to Licata, the move wasn't deliberate. His own questioning of the party's direction in a venue that predominantly hosts 18-and-over events had him thinking about pulling the plug on "Acid Wash" altogether.

"It just got further and further apart," he said. "These kids don't give a f—k who New Order was, and they don't care."

Before he could plan a formal farewell, however, word of his plans got around to Nextdoor owner Kahunahana. When his club was forced to close in 2008 due to liquor license issues, "Acid Wash" was two years into its run there and regularly attracting hundreds of people to Chinatown on Wednesday nights.

The scene on a Wednesday at Nextdoor, circa 2007. (Star-Advertiser File/2007)

"It's still to this day our most beloved party," said Kahunahana. "We get a lot of good shows, but every time you went to 'Acid Wash' you knew you were going to get quality entertainment and see all the people you liked being around. It was a good night to go out. For us, having that additional dance night back here on Wednesday will only help us improve what we can offer our clientele."

Added Licata, "'Acid Wash' was more about how dorky you could be, and I never expected that. It was never about the music after a while. It was more about where we could go and smile for the next three and a half hours."

Once the opportunity to return to Nextdoor presented itself, Licata was inspired to not only keep "Acid Wash" going, but to revamp it a bit and bring a slightly more current sound to the party. When the weekly returns on June 8, expect to hear some of the same tunes that remind you of your high school days mixed with music from the more recent past.

"There will still be plenty of '80s and '90s, but to have Depeche Mode mixed into Crystal Castles, mixed back into New Order, mixed into Madonna, mixed into Santigold ... that's making it to where it's relevant," Licata said. "If 'Acid Wash' took place 15 years from now, the music we'd be playing would include this. It's 'Acid Wash 2.0.' An updated version."

Kahunahana added that it's the talent of DJs like Licata, DJ Nocturna and fomer "Acid Wash" resident DJ ESKAE that will keep the party fresh, not just the music.

"It's necessary to evolve the sound of a particular event," he said. "Updating it with what Mike's more into now is a good idea. All of our tastes have changed.

"People still come up to me all the time and ask when the 80's party is — and now we've got an answer. June 8th."

The return of "Acid Wash" also means that live music showcase "Broadcast" will be switching nights at Nextdoor in June. The weekly, which will now be co-promoted by JetSetter Productions, moves to Thursdays beginning June 16.


Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at

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PICS: The final 'Acid Wash' at SoHo

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The Green ready for homecoming gig

May 13th, 2011

The Green perform at the State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia on March 7, 2011. (Photos courtesy The Green/John Shore)

Part of the growing process for any band serious about building a fan base is going on tour. For local acts, however, the ability to get on a plane and play shows in front of crowds anywhere else but Hawaii can be an incredibly difficult goal to recognize.

When rising reggae stars the Green get on stage at SoHo Mixed Media Bar tonight, it will be the first opportunity for their hometown fans to see how far the band has come as a live act. The gig will be the first they play on Oahu since returning from 10 weeks on the road.

"It's been a trip," acknowledged singer/guitarist JP Kennedy earlier this week. "It started with Philly and there was a mix of support shows and headline gigs."

JP Kennedy, left, performs with the Green at Virginia's State Theatre.

The Green opened for Rebelution during a 12-day stint on the east coast before heading out west to headline sold-out concerts in Portland and Seattle. Then it was back to the east coast to play with the Easy Star All-Stars in bigger cities like Boston and Washington, D.C. The 10-week tour wrapped up last week with shows in Nevada, Arizona and Colorado alongside J-Boog and Soldiers of Jah Army.

"This was the longest one," said Kennedy. "We went out for the first time in March 2010 when the album came out, and after we came home a lot of things started happening.

"So we went out again in summer 2010 to just the west coast. And then we picked up an agent and went on tour all over with Iration. So much is happening out there. We had this tour set up as only four or five weeks, but it ended up becoming 10."

Kennedy credits new management as the main source of motivation for the Green to elevate themselves to the next level of the music business. Not content with just dominating Hawaii's radio airwaves, the band is focused on building their name in other markets around the world. That tried-and-true method of building a following is one of only a few constants left in an industry rocked by change in recent years.

"It's a proven formula," Kennedy said, pointing to Big Island-based Pepper as a band that's adopted an always-on-the-road mentality that keeps them far from Hawaii's shores for most of the year. "We have the potential to be there at that level, (but) a lot of things need to go down. This next album is crucial. It has to be better."

The Green guitarist Zion Thompson.

At this point, Kennedy said "four or five" songs are already completed and ready for mixing, but the Green's next record still has a few more months before it will be ready for fans to hear.

"We're shooting for October, but we'll wait if we need to," he said. "We want to give ourselves the best chance."

Tonight's homecoming concert also marks the first time the Green is stepping up as promoters. Instead of getting booked for the gig and only having to worry about showing up to perform, the guys are shouldering more responsibility in an effort to challenge themselves.

"We wanted to do something that was different, and do it somewhere people weren't used to seeing us," said Kennedy. "We wanted to promote our own show to see where we stand as far as just our music goes.

"Even if they don't like (the venue), people will be there to see us. I know when I go downtown, when it's a good night it's a good night."

'The Green Homecoming Concert'

» Where: SoHo Mixed Media Bar

» When: 10 p.m. today (May 13)

» Cost: $15 (21+) and $20 (18-20)

» Info:

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McKenna Maduli making moves on MTV

May 12th, 2011

Bruno Mars isn't the only person from Hawaii making regular appearances on MTV these days. For McKenna Maduli, her day-to-day adventures see her crossing paths with some pretty big names as the west coast correspondent for the cable network's daily countdown show, "The Seven."

McKenna Maduli. (Courtesy photo)

"It's fun," said the daughter of veteran local entertainment power couple Kata and Janet Maduli from Los Angeles earlier this week. "I do this webshow called 'NextMovie Daily,'(and) I got an email today that we're going to be shooting double shows at the MTV Movie Awards all week.

"I've been really lucky. I'm not one of these Hollywood girls. ... All I want to do, and it sounds so cheesy, but all I want to do is represent (Hawaii)."

Maduli returned to Honolulu on Wednesday for a few days of rest and relaxation before heading to Aloha Tower Marketplace on Saturday to host the "Throwback Jam," a concert featuring some of the very artists she grew up around at her parents' Kalihi home.

"I just grew up with all of that around me, so it was really cool," she said. "My dad is a Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winner and a pretty bad-ass bass player. I grew up at Makaha Bashes making backstage passes with my mom.

"I grew up with Uncle IZ. And Davey D was hanging at my house when he was just an intern at FM-100!"

Maduli covered Spring Break for MTV this year and got to chat with Snoop Dogg, right, who told her he could tell she was from Hawaii. (Photo courtesy MTV)

While her father has enjoyed success locally, the younger Maduli saw her future on the mainland — before landing at MTV, she worked at various other online publications as a writer and in front of the camera as a host with She still rubs elbows with plenty of stars now that she's hit the big time, but Maduli gets more excited when she can tell stories about working with other locals in Hollywood.

"Bruno, for instance, I've known him since he was small," she said. "He would come out with (former DisGuyz member) Jason Lent to Justin (Young)'s shows at Burbank Bar & Grill. Just a little while ago, I was watching a friend sleeping on another friend's couch. And now he's a superstar.

Maduli and Alicia Keys, right. (Photo courtesy Billboard)

And just last night, I was out with (Hawaii-based musicians) Anuhea (Jenkins) and Kimie (Miner) in Santa Monica. They just killed it. This next generation of artists are coming out, and I think it's just our time. I think we need a voice (and) I want to be a part of that movement.

Still, Saturday's "Throwback Jam" will be a walk down memory lane for Maduli, with the likes of Ho`aikane, Fiji, Mana`o Company, Leahi, Bruddah Waltah, Jamin the Chief Ragga, Ilona Irvine, Typical Hawaiians, and Na Wai set to perform. It will also provide her with an opportunity to help raise funds for the Mana Ma'oli recording project set to ramp up production later this year.

"I'm so stoked to be coming home," said Maduli. "I think it's really cool that I can do this live thing on MTV and then, a couple of days later, be 10 minutes away from my home at Aloha Tower hosting the 'Throwback Jam' with my friends."


Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at

'Throwback Jam 2011'

Featuring Ho`aikane, Fiji, Mana`o Company, Leahi, Bruddah Waltah, Jamin the Chief Ragga,

Ilona Irvine, Typical Hawaiians, and Na Wai

Hosted by McKenna Maduli

» Where: The Waterfront at Aloha Tower Marketplace

» When: 6 p.m. May 14, 2011

» Cost: $25 general admission, $45 VIP

» Info: 545-5900 or

Review: Glen Phillips at Hawaii Public Radio

May 5th, 2011


You didn't need to be a Toad the Wet Sprocket fan to enjoy Glen Phillips' intimate solo performance at Hawaii Public Radio's Atherton Studio on Wednesday. But unless you were a HPR benefactor who took someone else's word for it when buying tickets, only true fans would have been wise enough to purchase the few dozen seats available for the show.

And while there were a few of the former in the room, the vast majority of the audience fell in the latter category.

Phillips is in Hawaii this week to play four times on four islands, starting with Wednesday's Oahu gig and continuing Thursday with another solo performance at Small Town Coffee on Kauai. On Friday he'll join his TWS bandmates for a show at the Big Island's Royal Kona Resort, followed by another concert on Saturday at Maui's Royal Lahaina Resort.

As he finished "Train Wreck" to solid applause, Phillips glanced around the HPR studio with a gleam in his eye.

"That was a happy song, huh?" he quipped. "Most of my songs are uplifting in that kind of way. Sorry."

Part indie folk and part acoustic emo rock, Phillips focused on his solo work early with "Courage" and "Easier" before moving into what he described as "the familiar... or at least the vaguely familiar."

"Crowing," off the 1994 Toad the Wet Sprocket album "Dulcinea" sounded just as good, if not better, nearly 20 years after it was first released. Then it was back to newer, slightly more unfamiliar territory, with tracks off Phillips' side projects with Works Progress Administration and "Solar Flare," a track off his 2008 solo EP, "Secrets of the New Explorers" — and just a little bit weird, as Phillips described it as the first upbeat song for children about the experience of dying from the radiation given off by solar flares.

Yeah. Solar flares.

Phillips was all over the map, taking his fans on an eclectic journey through his complete discography — and then some. Death Cab for Cutie and Huey Lewis and the News covers were sandwiched between anecdotes about eating a "real Japanese breakfast" and chowing down on natto, and a story about how it was always necessary to include some sort of "LL Cool J smooth jam... for the ladies." (His version of "I Want a New Drug" could have been just that for the HPR crowd on Wednesday.)

After "Something's Always Wrong," Phillips informed the audience that he'd be taking a 20-minute break to do what any smart independent artist would do: Sell a few CDs.

"It's a living," he deadpanned before going into a mini-rant about the world being overpopulated and his desire to return to a simpler form of living. Using terms like "agrarian" and "hunter-gatherer," his dry sense of humor found a way to get the audience laughing about how life after a "massive die-off" would be "awesome."

Okay. Maybe it's not so good of an idea to make those kinds of jokes on an island with a 10-day food supply in case of emergency.

After spending the previously announced 20-minute intermission signing autographs and talking story with fans, Phillips was back in the studio to play more than a half-hour more of the same mix of his solo work, Toad the Wet Sprocket favorites and a few more tracks from his WPA project. While Oahu TWS fans will probably want to bite the bullet and try to get to the Big Island or Maui this weekend (who knows when these guys will be back, if ever?), Wednesday's concert was good for fans who wanted to get up close and personal with Phillips.

Watching a performance at Hawaii Public Radio was also a great reminder that their Atherton Studio is a fun way to spend a night out enjoying live music. Their season runs from May through August, with most performances at 7:30 p.m. Saturdays.

Here's the rest of this year's schedule:

» May 7: Stephen Inglis and Jim "Kimo" West

» May 14: Keale

» May 21: Chris Vandercook Band

» May 28: Boogie

» June 4: Sara Buechner

» June 11: Danny Carvalho

» June 17-18: Sasha Boutros

» June 25: Derek Cannon

» July 1: Hailey Niswanger

» July 9: Kupaoa

» July 16: Barry Brandes and Anthony Maroudas

» July 23: Stephan George

» July 30: Gemini Trio

» Aug. 6: The Green

» Aug. 13: Kawika Kahiapo

» Aug. 20: Honolulu Jazz Quartet

» Aug. 27: Sandy & The Braz Jazz

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Ho’onu’a not done performing yet

May 5th, 2011

Photos by Jason Genegabus /

Christian Yrizarry performs on stage at the Waikiki Shell during last month's "Mayjah Rayjah" concert. It was the second time since Sept. 2006 that Ho'onu'a had performed together.

One of the big highlights of last month's "Mayjah Rayjah" concert at the Waikiki Shell was the return of Ho'onu'a to the stage for the first time in nearly five years.

The duo, comprised of Christian Yrizarry and Jared Keo, met as students at the University of San Diego back in the mid-1990's. The two were football players in college, yet had time to kick back with musical instruments and kanikapila just like generations of college kids from Hawaii did before (and after) them.

Christian Yrizarry, left, and Jared Keo are Ho'onu'a. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

The difference between them and everyone else is that Yrizarry and Keo were able to parlay their hobby into an actual recording career. Ho'onu'a enjoyed a few years of success, releasing multiple albums and touring frequently up and down the west coast college luau circuit.

In 2006, however, the two decided to part ways, with Keo focusing more on his career as a financial consultant and Yrizarry opting to stick with music full-time. Yrizarry went on to form the group Beach 5, which he continues to front today.

Last month's "Mayjah Rayjah" concerts on the Big Island and Oahu was the first time the two had been back on stage in front of a crowd together in a while, but Keo said there wasn't too much to be worried about.

Keo and Yrizarry on stage together at the Waikiki Shell. They were joined at one point by members of Natural Vibrations. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

"It felt just like riding a bike," he said backstage at the Waikiki Shell last month before Ho'onu'a performed. "The feeling (on the Big Island) was good, the vibe was good, the crowd was good."

Keo moved to Utah last summer with his wife, who gave birth three months ago to twins. Between his growing family and work obligations, there isn't much time for music these days.

"My music is a guitar and a ukulele in my music room at home, and I sing in my ward choir at church," Keo said. "My wife, she really wanted to move there for a while. And she went back to school.

"So it was kind of one of those things that happened, but it's all good."

When "Mayjah Rayjah" promoter Raymond Ho, Jr. got in touch to gauge their feelings on a reunion, it didn't take much for Yrizarry and Keo to get on board with his plans. But while the gig was billed as a "final set" for the duo, both guys weren't exactly interested in calling it quits just yet.

Ho'onu'a poses for a picture with members of Rebel Souljahz and Natural Vibrations backstage at the Waikiki Shell. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

"Basically, what it boils down to is that nothing is finalized yet," said Yrizarry. "Whether there will be more shows or not, the door is open. As long as we have fun, it works out with everyone's schedule and there's a demand, we'll do it.

"It's for us to have fun and for our fans to get another taste. They've been so loyal for all these years."

Keo added that there is still a demand for their music on the mainland, and with his new home in Utah, opportunities may arise for Ho'onu'a to keep on playing shows outside of Hawaii in the months and years to come.

"Bottom line is, if you really think about it, we really did a lot of touring on the West Coast, the luau circuit. A lot of those people are in their late 20's now and are still on the mainland. It's such a huge market, not only for Hawaiians, but all Polynesians."

Added Yrizarry: "A lot of our fans have grown older, but there's also a whole new generation of kids who saw us for the first time.

"Should everything line up, then if can, can."


Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at

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